KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Putrajaya will alter a proposed amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) in order to give the judiciary complete discretion on the death sentence that is currently mandatory for drug trafficking convictions.
According to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the decision was in response to objections about a clause in the amendment that would have allowed judges to exercise the discretion only if a supporting certificate is issued by a public prosecutor.
“We will make an amendment to Section 39B during the committee stage reading,” she said in a statement in Parliament.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali also admitted in a Malaysiakini report earlier today that his original proposed amendment to the Act gave full discretion to courts.
Opposition lawmakers including DAP's Ramkarpal Singh, along with the Bar Council, had all called for the Bill to be re-amended to ensure the full discretion on the sentencing is in the hands of the courts.
The committee stage amendment will be done to state that the judge will have the discretion during sentencing after evaluating if a convict has cooperated with authorities.
The current version of the Bill states that the public prosecutor needs to issue a certificate based on the convict's cooperation before a judge can mete out sentence.
Critics have argued that the clause effectively places discretion with the prosecutor.