Let the death penalty stay, just don’t make it mandatory

Opinion  |  Francis Paul Siah
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Not long after he assumed office for the second time as prime minister, a remark from Dr Mahathir Mohamad about those involved in corruption went viral: “I would like to shoot them, like in China, but I can’t.”

I wondered then whether Mahathir said that in jest, but there are many who think that the prime minister was perhaps serious. The old man returned to active politics because he was very concerned and disturbed, angry even, with the rampant corruption in the country.

Remember, he even called former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak a thief many times, publicly. We all know that Mahathir is in a hurry to clean up the mess Najib left behind, and who can blame him if he says that he would shoot the corrupt?

As recently as Sept 28, MACC chief commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull voiced his support for the prime minister’s suggestion that the death penalty be imposed on those found guilty of corruption.

Shukri was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times that “corruption is the root of all other crimes and those who commit it deserve such a punishment”.

He added that other crimes that are caused by corruption include the influx of undocumented migrants, gambling, prostitution as well as the smuggling of illicit goods.

“In China, those found guilty of corruption are shot to death,” the MACC chief repeated, perhaps as a reminder of the seriousness of the crime of graft.

In an article which I wrote on Oct 30, 2012, advocating to keep the death penalty, I also mentioned this:

“Many of you are keen to see the end of capital punishment. But I would advocate an additional crime for the death penalty.

“Political leaders who are excessively corrupt and have stolen from the state and people, causing misery and suffering to others in the process, should also be sent to the gallows.”

We can all agree that even the death penalty will not get rid of corruption. Neither would it put a stop to smuggling, murder, robbery with firearms and other heinous crimes...

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