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Last Chance for Life: Clemency in Southeast Asian Death Penalty Cases$
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Daniel Pascoe

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809715

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809715.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 July 2021

Federation of Malaysia

Federation of Malaysia

Chapter:
(p.125) 5 Federation of Malaysia
Source:
Last Chance for Life: Clemency in Southeast Asian Death Penalty Cases
Author(s):

Daniel Pascoe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198809715.003.0006

As with Chapters 3 and 4, the case study on Malaysia begins with a thorough description of the country’s death penalty laws and practice, and Malaysia’s publicly known clemency practice over the period under analysis (1991–2016). Thereafter, for both the Malaysian (Chapter 5) and Indonesian (Chapter 6) cases, the potential explanatory factors for clemency incidence are more complex than for Thailand and Singapore, given these two jurisdictions’ more moderate rates of capital clemency and fluctuating political policies on capital punishment over time. Available statistics suggest that Malaysia’s clemency rate is moderately high, at between 55 and 63 per cent of finalized capital cases. Malaysia is a federal state where pardons are granted by the hereditary rulers or appointed state governors in state-based cases, or by the Malaysian king (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) in federal and security cases, all on the advice of specially constituted Pardons Boards. Chapter 5 presents the following two explanations for Malaysia’s restrictions on death penalty clemency: prosecutorial/judicial discretion and detention without trial in capital cases, and the Federal Attorney-General’s constitutional role on the State and Federal Pardons Boards. As to why Malaysia’s clemency rate has not then fallen to the miniscule level seen in neighbouring Singapore (with both nations closely comparable, as they were once part of the same Federation of Malaya), Chapter 5 points to the relevant paperwork placed before each Pardons Board, the merciful role played by the Malay monarchy, and the impact of excessively long stays on death row before clemency decisions are reached.

Keywords:   clemency, pardon, Malaysia, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, monarchy, Islam, death row, Pardons Board, drug trafficking, Mahathir Mohamad, state secrecy, deterrence

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