DAP calls for setting up of sentencing guidelines, council and an end to whipping

In welcoming resentencing for death row prisoners, a DAP leader has called upon the government to set sentencing guidelines, sentencing council and an end to whipping.

This is in the wake of government abolishing mandatory death sentence and allowing appeals by death penalty inmates.

“However, as this is still in its infancy and the litmus test was first carried out on Tuesday, the best way forward is to produce re-sentencing guidelines for the benefit of judges and also the deputy public prosecutor so it can be applied with transparency, accountability and integrity to uphold the rule of law and the sanctity of the Malaysian judicial system.

“With a re-sentencing guideline in place, the next is for the government to focus on setting up a re-sentencing council for greater check and balance and for the council to act independently without fear or favour in strengthening the criminal justice system,” said DAP Deputy Secretary for International Affairs, P Kasthuri.

A total of 7 death row inmates had their sentence commuted to 30 years imprisonment several days ago.

End whipping

On that same note she also called for the abolishment of whipping as a form punishment.

The issue was raised in 2022 along with the abolition of mandatory death penalty but it was shot down due to lack of time in studying the matter.

“In Malaysia where whipping, with a cane, is still used on inmates for certain offences, the effectiveness comes into question as the same with the death penalty if it is indeed a deterrent or not.

“There is no doubt that many may argue that the level and extent of pain and the tearing and stripping away of flesh from the human skin IS a deterrent but as a progressive, developed and civilised nation, should we be continuing this barbaric and archaic form of punishment as retribution?

“Can one guarantee there is no miscarriage of justice in the criminal justice system? Surely, no. With that said, how can we allow this form of a demoralising punishment be accorded to a fellow human being?”

“I urge the government to revisit its once-upon-a-time initiative to sign and ratify the UNCAT, using it as a benchmark and keeping abreast with international standards on moving away from torture and cruel punishments, punitive and retributive and moving towards rehabilitative and restorative justice,” she said.

UNCAT refers to United Nations Convention Against Torture.