Saturday, June 13, 2015

PGA Malaysia will play the role of the promotion and advancement of abolition of death penalty in Malaysia



Press Statement by M. Kula Segaran, DAP MP for Ipoh Barat and Secretary of PGA, Malaysian Chapter, in Ipoh on Saturday, on 13th June 2015.

PGA Malaysia will play the role of the promotion and advancement of abolition of death penalty in Malaysia
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Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) is a non-profit, non-partisan international network of committed legislators that informs and mobilizes parliamentarians in all regions of the world to advocate for human rights and the rule of law, democracy, human security, non-discrimination, and gender equality. Currently it consists of over 1,100 legislators in more than 140 elected parliaments around the globe.

PGA Malaysian Chapter is headed by Dato Seri Nazri Aziz, Tourism and Culture Minister. The Chapter has held a meeting in Kuala Lumpur on June 11.

Among those who were present were Dato Seri Nazri,  Datuk Nancy Sukri, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department and Deputy Chair of PGA Malaysia,  Guest of Honour Hon. Mario Marazziti Member of Parliament ( Italy) and  Ms Maia Trujillo from PGA Secretariat. 

The meeting started off with welcome speech by M Kula (speech attached) 

Among the issues which were discussed were the abolition of death penalty, arms trade treaty
and Malaysia’s accession to the Rome Statute of the International Court (ICC). 

On the death penalty abolition issue, Dato Seri Nazri reaffirmed his belief that the death penalty (DP) should be abolished, but that in the current context with the pressure of the society, PGA Malaysia has to realistically first focus on the repealing of the mandatory DP. 

Nancy Shukri agreed on this point and she has raised this many times with the Government. She also wrote a letter to the AG where is the study on the matter, and his last answer on 9th June was that the study is still ongoing.

Mr. Mario Marazzitti , MP and Chair of Human Rights Committee- PGA, detailed his experience in getting the people and the elected representatives to support the abolishment of the death penalty. He has written books on the abolition and had been instrumental in pushing for the abolishment of death penalty in various countries in the world over.

Other members present namely YB Sim Tong Him, YB Alice Lau, YB Shamsul Iskandar, YB Thomas Su and YB Manivanan contributed their views.

It was agreed that PGA Malaysia will play the role of the promotion and advancement of abolition of death penalty in Malaysia.

Regarding Arms Trade Treaty and the ratification of the Rome Statute of the international Criminal Court, the  meeting  agreed with M. Kula’s suggestion to urge the Attorney General ( AG)  and Minister of Foreign Affairs to swiftly move forward with their ratifications. The anniversary of 17th July of the downing of MH17 could be a key to pressure the AG to transmit the implementation bill to Parliament so as to ensure that victims have finally access to justice.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Note: Attached herewith speech delivered by M Kula at the meeting)
Speech by M. Kula Segaran,  MP for Ipoh Barat and Secretary PGA, Malaysian Chapter, in Parliament Committee Room in Parliament House on 11th June 2015
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PGA must form a Working Committee to speed up the process of accession to the Rome statute and the ATT immediately
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Hon. DS Nazri Chairman of Parliamentary for Global Action (PGA) Malaysian Chapter, Hon. Nancy Minister in PM Department and Deputy Chair of PGA Malaysia,  Guest of Honour Hon. Mario Marazziti MP ( Italy) PGA Secretariat, Ms Maia Trujillo, MP’s and fellow members of PGA; 

On the 9 and 10 of March in 2011, Malaysian Parliament , together with the PGA had organised the second PGA Asia- Pacific Parliamentary Consultation on the Universality of the Rome statue of the International Criminal Court in Malaysia Parliament. The event was attended by regional MPs and elected representatives. Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Patail also attended the consultation process.

Thereafter on 19th March 2011, the Malaysian Cabinet announced that Malaysia will accede to the Rome Statute of the International Court (ICC) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court ).

It has to be remembered from the start the AG has been against the accession for one reason or the other.

As regards Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Malaysia signed its acceptance on 26th September 2013. The treaty became effective on 24th December 2014 and as at that date, 54 countries had ratified the treaty. Unfortunately Malaysia is still dragging its feet on this treaty too.

Many excuses are being dished out by the AG’s office which has delayed the accession process of the ICC. Initially, it was said that the Rome Statute was inconsistent with the special standing of the Malays rulers. It was only after we explained that an absolute Islamic country like Jordan has become a member of the ICC that this ground of objection was dropped.

Just two weeks ago on 26th May 2015,  when a parliamentary question was posed as to the reasons for the delay in ratifying the ICC and the ATT , the official written reply for not ratifying as yet are:

1) the issue of Genocide, Crimes against humanity, Crimes of aggression and War Crimes need to be clarified to be absorbed with our local laws;

2) to get ready the local laws in tandem with the Rome statute;

3) Article 120 of the Rome Statute which states “No reservations may be made to this Statute”;

4) The definition of “brokering” in the ATT need to be relooked into as there is a similar term in our local law;

5) There is a need for meetings between competent Government departments at the national level to streamline issues;

6) A guide line need to drawn up to facilitate the treaties implementation;

The answer reflects  a further attempt to delay accession to the Rome statute. The reasons rather the latest excuses/ reasons given are most unfortunate and unacceptable.

When the Cabinet is the approving authority on accession, who else can derail the High Call of the Malaysian Cabinet?

I suggest that PGA Malaysia sets up a Working Committee (WC) to accelerate the process of accession to the treaties.

The WC could hold consultation meeting with the Foreign Ministry (as the Ministry in charge of treaties ) and the Attorney General to speed up the process of accession without further delay

Death Penalty

There is a strong movement now to bring an end to the death penalty. Malaysia still has laws on mandatory death penalty. In 2012 Prof Roger Hood, Professor
Emeritus of Oxford University published findings on Mandatory death penalty after a lengthy survey. In essence, Malaysians were not against abolishment of the mandatory death penalty.

In 2010, then Law Minister DS Nazri said that the Government was considering abolishing death penalty. Further this was strengthened when the AG asserted in 2012 that laws would soon be introduced to abolish death penalty.

Although the above are positive developments, real changes into the abolishment have yet to materialize.

Further public pressure and discussions with all stake holders are required to bring real and long term changes to abolish the death penalty.

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