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'Malaysia moves to scrap mandatory death penalty for drugs'

AFP  |  Kuala Lumpur 

The Malaysian has agreed to scrap the mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers, a minister said today, in a move cautiously welcomed by rights groups.

must still approve the decision, taken by the Cabinet, to allow judges to impose sentences other than capital punishment on drug smugglers, but it is expected to do so.

Azalina Othman Said, a minister in the prime minister's department, revealed the decision to overhaul colonial-era drug-trafficking legislation from the 1950s in response to a question in

"We welcome the move as a recognition that the mandatory death penalty is an egregious form of punishment," said Amnesty International executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu.

But she added that it "must only be considered a first step towards total abolition. The imposition of the death penalty, including the mandatory death penalty, is a violation of the right to life."

imposes the mandatory death penalty for other crimes, including murder and terrorism-related offences.

Neighbouring Singapore passed legal reforms in 2012 abolishing mandatory death sentences for some drug trafficking and murder cases.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 07 2017. 20:28 IST