Nagaenthran’s death sentence in Singapore shines spotlight on Malaysia’s own death penalty

A former law minister said Malaysia must relook at its death penalty as the country has no moral grounds to request for clemency for its citizens facing execution abroad.

Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, who is Padang Rengas MP, thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in Parliament this afternoon, for writing to his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, to seek clemency for D. Nagaenthran.

Nagaenthran was due to be hanged this morning, but the convicted drug smuggler was granted a stay of execution by a Singapore court until further notice, after he tested positive for Covid-19.

The 33-year-old, with an IQ of 69, was arrested in April 2009, for trafficking in 42.72g of heroin.

“It’s challenging as we have the death penalty in our own country,” said Nazri.

“We do not have the moral grounds to appeal to neighbouring countries, or any country, for clemency, if a Malaysian is convicted of a drug offence. If it happened in our own country, we hang (those convicted).

“Although there are no moral grounds, I thank the prime minister, who had, in the spirit of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ (Malaysian Family) written to the Singaporean prime minister to seek for clemency.”

Nazri said there were 918 prisoners on death row in Malaysia; 472 of them were Malaysians, while 446 others were foreigners.

“The issue here is the foreigners. Their countries will surely file an appeal for their citizens who are on death row. If they make a representation to our government, what decision will we take in such a situation?

“We need to sort this out. We know that taking a person’s life is not right; it’s not right to take a precious, human life.”

Nazri added that the situation was “illogical and inconsistent”.

“It’s wrong (for an ordinary person), but it’s okay for the government?

“Why is it okay for the government to take (lives)? Because there’s an Act that allows them to take the lives of others? The Act was made by lawmakers.

“Some of you may argue that we were not even MPs when the Dangerous Drugs Act was enacted in the 50s.

“Today, we as MPs can make a decision to repeal the death penalty. We have the power now … to sit together and stop this.”

He pointed out that drug mules were not drug lords.

“We hang one drug mule, there will be two or three others next in line. And most of the drug mules are poor and desperate. They don’t profit by being drug mules.

“It’s time to stop the death penalty, especially for drug-related offences,” he added.