Malaysiakini NEWS

Death penalty: Six things you need to know

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KINIGUIDE | The government’s recent announcement to abolish the death penalty with plans to replace it with at least a minimum of 30 years’ imprisonment has raised much debate among the public.

Families of murder victims have cried foul while human rights advocates laud the government’s move.

Article 5 of the Federal Constitution guarantees that no person may be deprived of life or personal liberty. This is an important reference, especially when it comes to punishing those who threaten social order or another person’s life.

However, the same article includes the phrase “except in accordance with law”. So, should the state be allowed to take someone's life in the name of justice? Where should the line be drawn?

The abolition of the death penalty would not only affect the 1,279 people on death row, but it also involves debates on the constitution, political system, philosophy and ethics.

Then there’s the question of whether Malaysia has the moral authority to fight for the lives of its citizens abroad, like in the case of 31-year-old Prabu Pathmanathan, who was executed on Oct 26 in Singapore after failed attempts by various quarters to halt the punishment.

This first part of a series of five articles on the death penalty offers an overview of capital punishment in Malaysia and around the world...

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