Malaysia to abolish colonial-era Sedition Act, death penalty

President George Varughese said in a statement that the government would need to work with the Pardons Board at both the federal and state levels to ensure that executions are not carried out

In a revolutionary move, the Malaysian government has announced that it plans to abolish the death penalty now employed by its legal system as punishment for heavy crimes.

Liew Vui Keong, a minister in the prime minister's department, said on Wednesday that amendments to the existing laws would be introduced in the next session, which begins on October 15.

Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today urged Putrajaya to now focus on helping Malaysians on death row in foreign countries, following reports that a bill to abolish the death penalty will likely be tabled soon.

Malaysia has announced plans for a new bill that could abolish the death penalty within weeks and bring in a moratorium on executions effective immediately, a move that could save a Sydney grandmother now facing execution for drug charges.

"This is part of our election pledge and also in line with the move away from capital punishment in the rest of the world", he told The Associated Press.

"Since we are abolishing the sentence, all executions should not be carried out."

Executions are now mandatory for murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms and drug trafficking, among other crimes, and is carried out by hanging - a legacy of British colonial rule.

"The death penalty is a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

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The government's announcement was "an encouraging sign", Amnesty International's Kumi Naidoo said in a statement.

Mr Guterres called for all nations to abolish the practice of executions adding: "I call on those remaining, to join the majority and put an end to the death penalty now".

And contrary to popular belief, the abolition of the death penalty does not lead to an increase in crime.

The Death Penalty is practiced by 28 countries in the world, with 105 countries so far abolishing capital punishment.

The minister finally revealed that the paperwork for the abolishment of the death penalty is nearly done.

"Once the death penalty is scrapped, Malaysia will have the moral authority to fight for the lives of Malaysians facing death sentences overseas", he added.

"The death penalty will be abolished, full stop".

Excluding China, Amnesty says Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan - in that order - carried out 84 per cent of all executions in 2017.

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