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Mandatory death penalty: Long road to reform across five govts
While Parliament’s recent decision to abolish the mandatory death penalty may have come as a surprise, this was the culmination of the work of five successive governments.

Putrajaya first softened its position on the death penalty following widespread outcry over the case of Yong Vui Kong - a Sabahan youth who was on death row in Singapore for drug trafficking in 2007.

Then minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs Nazri Abdul Aziz spoke against the death penalty, bolstering an already active civil society campaign for clemency.

Eventually, after four years and in a very rare move, Singapore’s justice system commuted Yong’s sentence to life imprisonment.

By 2017, the Najib Abdul Razak administration...

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