PETALING JAYA: A review is being done on previous proposals for alternative punishment for the 1,327 inmates on death row following the move to abolish the mandatory death penalty, says Ramkarpal Singh.

“The government is taking the initiative to scrutinise and review the proposal and views which were submitted on alternative sentences with regard to mandatory death sentences.

“This includes recommendations of the special committee chaired by former Chief Judge Tun Richard Malanjum, the related government agencies, civil society and non-governmental organisations,” the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 10).

He said that any proposed alternative sentences for the mandatory death sentence would take into consideration the position of all parties to ensure that justice is upheld and that the rule of law is given priority.

Ramkarpal was responding to a recent call by Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah to the government to resolve the fate of more than 1,300 death row inmates and that they be spared the gallows.

Ramkarpal said that the government is open to new input on the matter from relevant bodies.

He noted that any new amendments to the law must be holistic and transparent and must be finalised as soon as possible.

This, he said, was because several Bills to abolish the mandatory death sentence were tabled in Dewan Rakyat on Oct 6 last year before Parliament was dissolved to pave the way for the 15th General Election.

“Any amendments must be retabled in the coming Parliament meeting owing to the dissolution of Parliament on Oct 10, 2022,” he added.

He said that the government remains committed towards the abolishment of the mandatory death sentence.

Last Oct 6, seven Bills were tabled to do away with the mandatory death sentence involving 33 sections.

The punishment involved 11 mandatory death sentences and 22 at the discretion of judges.

Among the laws to be amended are the Dangerous Drugs Act, Kidnapping Act, Arms Act, Penal Code and Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act.

Also to be amended are provisions of the Criminal Justice Act and Criminal Procedure Code.