PETALING JAYA ― Malaysia was placed 10th in a ranking of world’s top executioners after carrying out nine death sentences last year, human rights watchdog Amnesty International Malaysia (AI-M) said in its report.

AI-M Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said the number of executions in Malaysia has also considerably increased from the previous years, according to the Death Sentences and Executions Report 2016 launched today.

“The Home Ministry in October last year had informed the Parliament that Malaysia had executed six people in 2014, one in 2015 and nine last year.

“The disclosure was the first time executions have been disaggregated by year in recent memory and the revelation provided an insight into the magnitude and true extent of Malaysia’s use of the death penalty,” she told reporters here.

The annual report had surveyed statistics from 23 countries. China lead the list of top executioners, followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan.

Shamini said the report however was unable to confirm whether there are any individuals who are on death row here over drug offences.

“Because the government hasn’t said anything about it and we rely on government data for that information. Most of the time, we dealt mainly with murder cases,” she added.

However, she praised Malaysia for being transparent with death penalty data, after urging Putrajaya to do so over the years.


“The October announcement proved that Malaysia has been executing more than we were previously aware of. The government should continue to make public information on the death penalty while it is still in use,” she said.

In the previous parliamentary session, minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said revealed that the government had agreed to review Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and allow courts to decide on the penalty for drug offences.

Currently, the law only provides for one sentence for those convicted of drug-related offences — death.

While the government has agreed to review drug laws in the country, it should also explore its options in entirely abolishing the death penalty, Shamini said.

“On March 15, the hurried double executions of brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai while clemency application was still pending is symbolic of the lack of transparency that surrounds executions in Malaysia.

“It is a perfect example of why the death penalty must be abolished in totality. The government must go further and immediately establish a moratorium on all executions as first steps towards full abolition of the death penalty.”

The report also revealed that executions at the global level had decreased by 37 per cent from a high of 1,634 in 2015. On the other hand, new death sentences had increased in 2016 to 3,117 from 1,998 in 2015.

– Malay Mail