Syed Saddiq rapped for opposing death penalty

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Syed Saddiq rapped for opposing death penalty

Should the death penalty be abolished? This question is on the minds of many Malaysians of late, especially after the country won one of 18 seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2022-24 term.

The election to the council was followed by calls for the death penalty to be abolished, with those opposed to capital punishment saying it is an infringement of fundamental rights.

Tweets by Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman expressing his hope for the death penalty to be scrapped have sparked a frenzy online, after a recent court decision to send a 55-year-old single mother of nine to the gallows for drug possession and distribution.

A video of her harrowing cries after hearing the judgment went viral yesterday.

Syed Saddiq urged for Malaysia to abolish the death penalty, saying the system currently in place is unfair to vulnerable groups.

Human rights organisations have issued similar calls the world over.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights argues that the death penalty carries an unacceptable risk of innocent people being executed, and said there is an absence of proof that it serves as a crime deterrent.

Some 170 UN member states have either abolished the death penalty or do not have the system in place.

“Painful to watch. Single mother of nine children detained for distributing drugs three years ago, sentenced to mandatory death penalty.

“This is not a fair system. Those punished are generally people with hardship, the poor, and destitute individuals. How many more will be punished like this?” tweeted Syed Saddiq last night.

The Muda founder said punishments should be commensurate with the crimes committed.

“Caught with 113.9g (of drugs), from a desperate family, and sentenced to death. Until when will this cycle of cases involving the poor continue?” he said in another post today.

The tweets saw a backlash, with scores of Malaysians saying the death penalty is necessary, regardless of the wrongdoer’s social and financial standing.

User @nadhilahnad said the crime in question is the distribution of drugs, not dates – the fruit typically distributed by politicians during the fasting month of Ramadan.

“No matter how difficult a person’s life is, it doesn’t justify (committing a crime).”

Another user, @yewthang, asked the lawmaker if he took into account that drugs ruin and endanger lives.

Sharing this sentiment, @sinach_z noted that the woman was punished because of her crime, and that being poor does not give her a free pass to be a criminal.

“No matter how poor or desperate you are, you don’t do things that are against the law! So, I’m sorry, YB, death penalty for trafficking drugs must stay. Let this be a lesson,” said @miqbalkathrada.

Capital punishment should remain, said @ipankck_, even suggesting that those involved in corruption should face this penalty.

Meanwhile, @zamirmohyedin warned that reducing a sentence on the grounds that the convict is poor may encourage drug lords to recruit vulnerable people to distribute narcotics.

“The poor will not hesitate; they get money, and the punishment is lighter. Think about the impact of the distributed drugs then. More families will be ruined.”

“YB, you are right on so many things. Unfortunately, you are wrong on this. Drugs have ruined so many families. They know the risk when they get involved in the drug trade, yet they do it anyway. We cannot be lenient with drug dealers. No matter how desperate,” said @mamuzulkarnain.

In a video that went viral yesterday, Hairun Jalmani, the woman sentenced to death, breaks down in tears and shouts for help while being led away by police after the sentence was read out to her.

High court judge Alwi Abdul Wahab meted out the penalty after finding that the prosecution succeeded in creating a prima facie case, and the defence failed to raise reasonable doubt.

Hairun was charged under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 with possessing syabu in a house in Tawau, Sabah, in January 2018. TV

Syed Saddiq rapped for opposing death penalty

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