In October 2018—just months after Malaysians voted out the coalition that had been in power since 1957—Liew Vui Keong, the new head of the Legal Affairs Division in the Prime Minister’s Department, announced that the death penalty would be completely abolished for all offences in the country.
In January 2019, at an emotional meeting with families of death row inmates, he said, “I believe that if you believe killing is wrong, then you cannot support the government doing it.”
But pro-death penalty voices—including opposition party members, former police chiefs, and lawyers—have emerged. Public outrage over violent crimes such as the death of a nine-month-old baby as a result of rape and abuse, allegedly by the child’s caregiver’s husband, has also fuelled such views.
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