The new legal reforms will also trim the number of offenses punishable by death, and abolishes natural life prison sentences.
Under the new amendments, capital punishment will no longer be an option for some serious crimes such as discharging and trafficking of a firearm and kidnapping. Alternatives such as whipping and imprisonment of between 30 to 40 years will be considered instead.
This move has been cautiously welcomed by rights groups. Malaysia’s deputy law minister said that capital punishment was an irreversible sentence and had been an ineffective deterrent. He added that the reforms passed were a good first step toward the total abolition of capital punishment.
More than 13 hundred people facing the death penalty or imprisonment for natural life can seek a sentencing review under the new rules.