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Use death penalty only in rare cases' PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 June 2011 21:21

KUALA LUMPUR: A retired Federal Court judge said the death penalty should be imposed only in exceptional cases.

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said this depended on the circumstances of each case and that judges should be given the discretion to impose the capital punishment.
"The death penalty is not applicable to all cases but only in the rarest of the rare," he said at a meeting to discuss the abolishment of the death penalty at the Dewan Rakyat conference room here yesterday.

Sri Ram said the death penalty should be imposed in dadah trafficking cases to drive home the point to the international community that Malaysia was not a haven for offenders.

He said an innocent person may be sentenced to death due to ignorance of law by court officials and tainted evidence.

"It is a better to save a life than to take one."

Human Rights Commission chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said it had advocated that death penalty for serious offences be substituted to imprisonment "because right to life belongs to God".

Malaysian Bar president Lim Chee Wee said public opinion should move the government to amend the laws.

A parliamentary reply to a question by Liew Chin Tong (DAP-Bukit Bendera) stated that 441 people had been sentenced to death since 1960.

As of February this year, 696 people are awaiting execution for dadah trafficking, murders and illegal possession of firearms.