Malaysia’s new government said it will abolish the death penalty for all crimes and halt all pending executions, a rare move against capital punishment in Asia that human rights groups hailed Thursday as a major advance.
More than 1,200 people are on death row in Malaysia, which mandates hanging as punishment for a wide range of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, treason, kidnapping and acts of terror.
Law Minister Liew Vui Keong announced Wednesday that the cabinet had agreed to abolish the death penalty and that amendments to laws with capital punishment were expected to be presented when parliament resumes Monday, local media reported. Liew couldn’t be reached for immediate comment.
Communications Minister Gobind Singh Deo on Thursday confirmed the cabinet’s decision.