A human rights organisation on Tuesday expressed concerns the Malaysian government was dragging its feet on recent promises to permanently abolish the death penalty.
Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said a bill repealing the death penalty had not yet been introduced in parliament.
LFL advisor N. Surendran said in spite of repeated assurances by de-facto law Minister Liew Vui Keong in November that the government remained committed to the matter not much had been done.
“The delay was a grave cause for concern as the current session of the Dewan Rakyat (Lower House of Parliament) will end by next week.
“The death penalty is barbaric, irreversible and an unproven deterrent of serious crime, it had no place in the laws of any civilised country,’’ he emphasised.
Surendran urged Liew to table the bill by International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.
The decision to abolish the death penalty was part of ruling party Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto before sweeping into power in a surprise victory in May.
Liew had initially announced to the Malaysian parliament in November that the cabinet had agreed to scrap the death penalty.
No less than 32 offences under the Malaysian penal code are punishable by death, including murder, drug trafficking, treason and terrorism.
However, public and official opinion have swayed on the issue, after news of a 9-month-old baby who died from injuries resulting from being sodomised and raped by her babysitter’s husband in November.
The incident has ignited calls for the death penalty to remain.
Regardless, Liew has repeatedly maintained Putrajaya’s commitment towards pushing the repeal through, reiterating that capital punishment would be replaced with a minimum of 30 years imprisonment.