Is Kissing In Public Legal and An Acceptable Norm in Malaysia?

Malaysia is a multicultural country and it is not common to see Malaysians kissing in public but we may at times have some opportunities of seeing newly married couples kissing in the presence of their guests during wedding dinners. Most of the time when they were asked and teased by MCs to kiss and in amorous embrace, these newlywed couples may be seen to be very uncomfortable and shy. They had to do it especially when some of their guests insisted that they have to do it. What normally would be our reaction to such act then? Annoyed? Embarrassed? What is the position of the law in Malaysia? In a recent case, Ooi Kean Thong and Siow Ai Wei who were students were caught by the authorities when they were locked in an amorous embrace in a park beside the famous landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. They were charged with disorderly behavior in public. The case went to the Federal Court of Malaysia. The Chief Justice, Tun Ahmad Fairuz commented that: “In England, those acts are acceptable to the people of that country, but, is kissing and hugging acceptable to Malaysian citizens? The federal court rejected a […] read more

Should we abolish death penalty?

Many countries in the world have abolished the death penalty, but, why Malaysia still cling on to death penalty as a form of punishment when many other countries had done away with it? We have several offences in statutes that provided for death penalty in Malaysia which include, murder and waging war against the King under the Penal Code, kidnapping for ransom under section 3 of the Kidnapping Act 1960 and trafficking dangerous drugs under 39B of the Dangerous Drugs 1952. Upon being found guilty, most death penalties are mandatory and the trial Judge has no discretion at all when come to sentencing to consider other range of possible sentences such as imprisonment in accordance with the circumstances of each and individual case. The sentence of death has been fixed by Parliament. It has been argued before the court that the death penalty is unconstitutional as it takes away the discretionary power of the Judges when passing sentences. No amount of mitigation put forward and sympathy from judges could this be changed. In handling criminal cases, the worst fear is that judges may hang an innocent person accused who never committed the crime charged. The famous case of Karthigesu some […] read more

Constitutionality of Death Penalty

The issue on the constitutionality of death penalty had previously been argued before the Privy Council in the case of Ong Kee Chuan v. Public Prosecutor [1981] 1 MLJ 64 PC. In actual fact this was a case of appeal from Singapore under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1973 to the Privy Council. However, the Privy Council in their judgment ruled that the death penalty was constitutional. Now, cases are no more heard before the Privy Council in the United Kingdom and therefore the highest court where litigants could be heard now in all legal matters are before the Federal Court only. By Voon Lee Shan in the Federal Court In the Federal Court sitting at Kuching on 1st October, 2012 the issue on the constitutionality of the death penalty was again raised before five judges in the Federal Court Criminal Appeal Case No: 05-234-09/2011(Q) in Chung Ngee Hong v. Public Prosecutor in a dangerous drugs case under section 39B(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which carries the mandatory sentence of death upon conviction. Death Penalty Arbitrary, Unfair or Unjust It was argued before the Federal Court that the death penalty under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 is arbitrary, unfair […] read more

Death Penalty under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952

In most countries, drugs offences are not considered as sufficiently serious to warrant the imposition of the death penalty. However, in this country, drug trafficking carries the only sentence available under the law, that is, the mandatory death penalty. It gives not room for judges to apply any discretion in the case. The difficulty in defending drugs trafficking cases is caused by a number of crushing presumptions found in section 37 of the Act. For example, a person in the care or management of a premise shall be deemed to be the occupier of the premise and when dangerous drugs exceeding a certain minimum amount are found in the said premise, the occupier found in the premise shall be presumed to be trafficking in dangerous drugs. In drugs trafficking cases, the big players involved in the supply chain most often than not were unknown and not caught, but, those peddling with the drugs in the streets usually got caught. Many were innocent carriers but were sentenced to death with the help of the presumptions clauses in the Act. In drugs cases, one should not discount that there could be people being wrongly convicted caused by undetected lies of testimonies of […] read more

Death Penalty and Inherent Right To Life

A defence lawyer who was worn out of a lengthy trial involving a drugs case who looked sad and angry recently said, “Who pays the ultimate penalty for crimes? The poor! Who gets the death penalty? The poor and it is the poor who is selected to die in this country! Why do the poor people get the death penalty? It is simple because unlike the rich fellows, the poor has no money to afford good lawyers and the poor could not pay experts to help them! Capital punishment means without capital, you get death penalty! And lawyers who are not paid adequately in defending the poor has no alternative, but, to close his shop and leave the legal profession!” Life of a person is given by God and many would say that no one should take a person’s life away except by God, but, there are people who believe that there’s nothing wrong to take away a person’s life if he has committed a heinous crime or crime against humanity. Many countries now have abolished the death penalty as a punishment because to take away a person’s life is cruel, inhumane and inherent immoral and reflects an uncivilized society. […] read more