Key Updates On Criminal Law

Published date06 March 2023
Subject MatterCriminal Law, Crime
Law FirmMahWengKwai & Associates
AuthorMahWengKwai & Associates

Key Updates on Criminal Law

There are presently 11 offences which carry the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia. After the Special Committee to Review Alternative Sentences to the Mandatory Death Penalty, the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) arrived at a decision to review and amend the laws on the death penalty, which would give judges a wider discretion in sentencing.

According to Parliament, there are 1,342 convicts on death row in Malaysia as at February 2022. A moratorium against the death penalty was given to the convicts in June 2022.

According to the Law and Institutional Reform Minister, the amendments will not abolish the death penalty entirely but gives a wider discretion to the courts to decide on the appropriate punishment, with a focus on rehabilitative and restorative justice.

Seven bills were tabled for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat in October 2022 (listed below) with most of the amendments focused on abolishing the mandatory death sentence. The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill 2022 will amend the Criminal Justice Act 1953 (Act 345) by inserting a new section, 3A, to clarify the terms of life imprisonment.

  • Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2022
  • Kidnapping (Amendment) Bill 2022
  • Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill 2022
  • Arms (Amendment) Bill 2022
  • Penal Code (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2022
  • Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) (No.3) Bill 2022
  • Firearms (Increased Penalties) (Amendment) Bill 2022

On 15 December 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 9th resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with almost two thirds majority in favour of the resolution, including Malaysia.

Even though the amendments on the law on death penalty in Malaysia will take some time before coming into effect, it is apparent that Malaysia's efforts in reviewing and amending the laws, including its vote in favour of the 9th resolution at the United Nations General Assembly are in unison with the global aim towards abolishing mandatory death sentences absolutely.

Did you know that the act of stalking may soon be a criminal offence in Malaysia? On 3.10.2022, the Dewan Rakyat unanimously passed two anti-stalking bills.

The first bill [Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2022] sought to add a new offence in the Penal Code, i.e. section 507A. According to the new provision, a person commits the offence...

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