Finally the amendment on mandatory death sentencing has came to the spotlight. The de facto law minister Dato' Seri Nazri has openly said that the government is now prepare to review the inhumane law pertaining to S39B(2) Dangerous Drug Acts 1952, particularly.
(1) No person shall, on his own behalf or on behalf of any other person, whether or not such other person is in Malaysia—
(a) traffic in a dangerous drug;
(b) offer to traffic in a dangerous drug; or
(c) do or offer to do an act preparatory to or for the purpose of trafficking in a dangerous drug.
(2) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall be punished on conviction with death.
The decision to replace the mandatory death sentencing with maximum imprisonment 30 years as said by the de facto law minister should be welcomed greatly. This courageous step should be read with our Article 2 of Constitution further, which is the "Right to Life".
There are several school of thoughts, opinions and criticisms raised after Dato' Seri Nazri and Attorney General commented on the possibility to repeal the section.
Certain clarifications should have taken place upon this stage:-
(1) the public would have thought there is NO MORE death sentencing for drug carriers (which also called the donkeys). However, according to AG, they are in the midst of reviewing the MANDATORY death penalty. In other word, they are considering to impose some discretion to the judiciary on whether to execute the drug offenders with death sentencing.
(2) abolishing death sentencing could lead to increment of drug cases, which I think this is not true at all. I don't see any reducing on drug offender cases due to the practice of imposing mandatory death sentencing. The current sentencing are not discouraging the drug carriers from challenging the authority.
Under current law, the judges' hand are tied and they are in no position to impose alternative sentencing other than mandatory death penalty. The fact is, the drug carriers could be innocent and they were just a tool to be fooled by the syndicates. I have seen (or have been told) a number of mental disability donkey cases to import or export the drugs, and nevertheless they were hanged on the platform in the end. From here, I took a stand that the judges could consider to exercise their discretion on not imposing death penalty, in the event that the section has been repealed by the government.
Human rights could be another field of discussion. Although our Article 2 of Constitution is not being weighted and interpreted nicely by the judiciary, nevertheless the execution of human life to an end is considered unjust under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In short, no one can take away another's life.
If the government prepare to do so, undeniably it is a progress move towards a more democratic, just and fair legal system. I would rather to suggest life imprisonment to be implemented for medium level drug offenders, or higher. This could ensure justice would be more well served.
The end of a life is irreversible, and justice can nevertheless being tempered with mercy and second chance.