By Ononye VC
Malaysia will no longer implement the death penalty for a number of serious offences as of Tuesday.
The Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023 was gazetted on June 30 and signed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Law and Institutional Reform, Azalina Othman Said, with the date of implementation set for July 4.
The offences include drug trafficking, murder, treason and kidnapping, with judges previously having to apply the mandatory death penalty as punishment.
With the new law, judges presiding over cases that call for the mandatory death sentence would now have the discretion of imposing alternative penalties such as a new alternative jail term of 30 to 40 years.
Malaysia has enforced a moratorium on executions since 2018, but as legislation carrying the mandatory death penalty has remained effective.
The courts have been bound to continue sentencing defendants to death despite no executions being carried out since 2017.