8 March 2019
Press statement by MCA Youth Chairperson Nicole Wong Siaw Ting
Pakatan adds insult to injury for victims’ families by striking movement against death penalty abolition
On the Pakatan Harapan government’s stand to abolish capital punishment, several ministers and deputies have expressed different views. Even Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad holds a separate opinion. Therefore I urge the government to handle this matter transparently, to avoid public suspicion of a ‘‘hidden agenda’’.
It is also incumbent that Pakatan leaders who support the abolition of the death penalty, to stop adding insult to injury on the victims’ families. This includes greeting them with ‘‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’’ intended as a strike on the movement against death penalty abolition. This only leaves people feeling bitterly disappointed.
The government has met with family members of death row inmates, but not with the victims’ families. Ditching public sentiments, the government appears to be partisan for offenders on this issue.
What we can see is that the party which is against the death penalty abolition can only call on the government; whilst the Ministers have no intention to meet with the victims’ families, and continue with a tenacious insistence on abolishing capital punishment. Is this fair to the victims’ families?
The government has tried every means to assist and act fairly towards the death row inmates. However, the death row inmates did not give any of their victims a chance when they carried out the heinous crimes.
Although some ministers have denied that the government’s intention to abolish death penalty is to extradite Sirul, the convicted murderer of Mongolian model Altantuya, from Australia. But undeniably Tun Dr Mahathir had previously linked both cases together.
On February 25 this year, Tun Dr Mahathir had informed that to extradite Sirul, it is of utmost importance to ensure Sirul will not face the gallows back home, as Australian law does not allow death sentences. This is reminiscent to the cause of abolishing the death penalty.
Furthermore, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Viu Keong has repeatedly ‘‘intimidated’’ Pakatan leaders who are against opposing the Bill on abolishing the death penalty. He did not mention about abolishing ‘‘mandatory death penalty’’ while explaining the Bill. But recently DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh both claimed that the Bill is meant to abolish mandatory death penalty. They also accused others of widening the scope to include life imprisonment sentences, which is incorrect.
Even the government, including cabinet ministers, have different interpretations on this Bill. So how can they be sure that amendments to the Bill will not allow murderers to escape legal sanctions?
After a murder has been committed, how long does it take before a suspect is apprehended, formally arrested with evidence and then charges filed against him/her? Why should PH allow the perpetrator to escape unpunished on the shallow grounds of “human rights” and “fairness”?
Nicole Wong Siaw Ting
MCA National Youth Chairperson