CLS Press Statement: Call For Abolishment Of The Death Penalty

This year, the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese Office of Human Development (AOHD) has embarked on a signature campaign to call on the Federal Government to abolish the Death Penalty.

Many have expressed strong views in the retention of the death penalty and of the view that those convicted deserve what they get!

However as Christians, we are led in faith by the teachings of Christ. The gospel reading for the 5th Sunday of Lent challenges us who have not sin, to cast the first stone.

The element of forgiveness is again best epitomised when Christ was nailed to the cross. Whilst in pain and suffering from the afflicted wounds of the nails and the scourging, he nevertheless asked our Father ‘to forgive them for they do not know what they do!’

Likewise we too are call in faith to prevent the taking of another man’s life. After all, the Great Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘an eye for an eye leads to total blindness’.

To put things into perspective, in Malaysia the death penalty is invoked in capital punishment offences. These include drug trafficking, possession and discharging of firearms, murder, kidnapping and waging war against the state.

| Image 1 of 2 |
Death Penalty By Offences
Since 1960 until March 2011, 441 persons were hanged (see image 1). The majority are drug traffickers. It was once thought that the death sentence is a deterrent but statistics show otherwise (see image 2).

The Federal Government acknowledges that there is a rise in drug related offences despite the presence of the death penalty. In March 2012, the Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein informed Parliament that the mandatory death penalty has been shown to have failed to act as a deterrent.

The late Pope John Paul II echoed the abolishment of the death penalty when he said,

“May the death penalty, an unworthy punishment still used in some countries be abolished throughout the world.” (Rome July 9 2000)

Likewise his successor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI expressed the same sentiments,

“I express my hope that your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty...” (13 November 2011.)

The Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese now calls on you to make your voice heard. It’s time to make that change. Please register your support of this campaign at www.change.org/petitions/abolish-death-penalty-in-malaysia

Thank you & God Bless!

Joy Appukuttan
President,
Catholic Lawyers Society, Kuala Lumpur

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