Malaysia ends mandatory death penalty


As of Tuesday, Malaysia has abolished the mandatory death penalty for several serious offenses. The Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023, signed by Minister Azalina Othman Said, was gazetted on June 30, and the implementation date was set for July 4.

Under this act, offenses such as drug trafficking, murder, treason, and kidnapping will no longer carry a mandatory death penalty. Previously, judges were required to impose the death penalty for these crimes. This move marks a significant shift in Malaysia’s approach to capital punishment.

Yes, that is correct. Malaysia has had a de facto moratorium on executions since 2018, meaning that no executions have taken place during this period. However, the mandatory death penalty provisions in legislation were still in effect, requiring judges to impose the death penalty for certain offenses.

This situation resulted in individuals being sentenced to death even though executions were not being carried out. With the recent abolition of the mandatory death penalty for certain serious offenses, the courts will now have more discretion in sentencing, and alternative punishments can be considered.

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