The Malaysian Bar is pleased to note that Malaysia — together with an overwhelming number of countries — has continued to support the United Nations (“UN”) call for a moratorium on executions. This was evident during the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly (“UNGA”) on 17 November 2020 where countries considered a draft resolution on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty.1 The Malaysian Bar has consistently, during its Annual or Extraordinary General Meetings since the past 30 years, passed resolutions advocating the abolition of the death penalty.
It was reported that during the Third Committee of the UNGA, 120 UN member states voted in favour of the proposal, 39 voted against, and 24 abstained from voting. Back in December 2018, Malaysia cast its vote and joined a record number of UN member states in favour of an earlier UNGA resolution seeking the abolition of the death penalty.
The Malaysian Bar takes this opportunity to call upon the Government once again to make public the recommendations of the Special Committee to Review Alternative Sentences to the Mandatory Death Penalty, which was established in September 2019. This is imperative in order to consider meting out alternative sentences. It is absolutely pivotal for Malaysia to fulfil its international human rights commitments by reaffirming its pledge to abolish the death penalty.
The death penalty is a form of inhumane punishment that has no place in modern society. The Malaysian Bar strongly opposes this form of punishment as it is a denial of one’s constitutional right to life. We therefore call upon the Government to act with immediacy to abolish the death penalty and to guarantee the right to life for all individuals.
19 November 2020
1 “Death Penalty: Majority of States Continue to Support UN Call for Moratorium on Executions at Committee Vote”, Amnesty International, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/ACT5033542020ENGLISH.pdf, 17 November 2020.