Case Study 3: The Death Penalty in Malaysia
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The third case study explores the retention and use of the death penalty in Malaysia. Along with other neighbouring nations, Malaysia has retained the death penalty despite an abolitionist trend in other Commonwealth nations. The retention of the death penalty has often been linked to a particularly punitive stance on narcotics in the region but also cannot be separated from the foundations of anti-sedition, public disorder and Islamisation in the region. The chapter explores the wide range of offences which warrant a discretionary or mandatory death penalty in Malaysia. A common populist defence in retentionist nations centres upon perceived public support for retention but the academic analysis by international criminologists, such as Roger Hood, illustrate a more nuanced public interpretation. The chapter explores some key death row cases in Malaysia whilst pointing out how the practices of short-notices of execution fall foul of international procedures, even of those in retentionist states. The very recent moratorium on executions signals a potential shift in this area following decades of international scrutiny.
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