Malaysia to abolish death penalty
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11: Malaysia's cabinet has ordered the suspension of the colonial-era Sedition Act, widely used to rein in dissent, and is working on doing the same for the death penalty as it prepares to repeal both laws possibly by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's coalition romped to a shock win in a May general election on the back of promises to clamp down on rampant corruption and repeal oppressive laws, some of which date back to British rule.
Before the May polls, dozens of politicians and activists were detained and charged under the Sedition Act as former Prime Minister Najib Razak's administration worked to clamp down on dissent, especially after news broke in 2015 of a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Malaysia has decided move with more than 1,200 people on death row set to win a reprieve following a groundswell of opposition to capital punishment.
In April last year, Amnesty International ranked Malaysia 10th in the use of death penalty among the 23 countries that carried out capital punishment in 2016. Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals were hanged, the New Straits Times newspaper said. A total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, making up 2.7 percent of the 60,000-strong prison population. There were 993 executions recorded in 2017 in 23 countries. -AFP