PETALING JAYA: The government’s engagement with interest groups on doing away with the mandatory death penalty will start soon, said Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.

“It will involve getting further views from academicians and members of the Dewan Rakyat on the matter before the Bill is tabled in Parliament this October,” said the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law), in a statement.

She said the government had agreed in principle with the proposal on the abolition of the mandatory death penalty following a study on the matter which was tabled at the Cabinet on June 8.

Mas Ermieyati said following the Cabinet’s decision, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar held a meeting with Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun to discuss matters.

“The AG’s Chambers and the ministry’s Legal Affairs Division have been tasked to study and scrutinise the recommendations including the draft Bill on the related amendments,” she added.

Previously Wan Junaidi said Putrajaya had agreed to abolish the mandatory death penalty with a substitute or alternative sentence to be imposed at the discretion of the courts.

He said the changes could become law as early as January next year if the proposed Bill is passed by Dewan Negara by December.

There are 1,342 convicts who are on death row in the country.