PUTRAJAYA: Family members and representatives of murder victims are vehemently against any move to abolish the mandatory death penalty for heinous crimes, including premeditated killings.
They expressed their firm stand in a 90-minute meeting with the Select Committee for Abolition of Death Penalty chaired by former Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum on Tuesday.
The families comprised that of the late deputy public prosecutor Datuk Kevin Morias, millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya, bank manager Stephen Wong Jing Kui, university student Chee Gaik Yap, Annie Kok, one-year-old Muhammad Hafiz Idris and his sister Nurulhanim Idris, 4.
Tan Siew Lin, 57, the mother of Kok, who was 17 years old when she was raped and killed at her house in 2009, wants her killer to hang.
"If he is freed, I will hunt down that person myself,” said Tan, who still cries in the bathroom when she thinks of Kok.
"I will only have peace when her killer is dead," she told reporters after the meeting, adding no one could truly understand how the families of murder victims felt until they themselves experienced it.
The families, in a joint statement said they strongly felt criminals who planned, raped, kidnapped, maliciously and deliberately killed their victims in cold blood deserved to hang.
"We want a life for a life, no less. Take note, the killer(s) took not just one precious life, but also destroyed many others’, including ours.
"We will not accept compensation from the government or killers’ family in order to absolve the criminals from capital punishment. If they have the courage to kill, they must also have the courage to take responsibility for their actions, ie. be hanged. This is our rule of law," the statement said.
The families added they had seen killers freed more often than hanged.
"The justice system should be getting justice for victims, not to protect criminals.
"We are very sad to see the government working closely with only pro-abolition NGOs to remove the death penalty.
"Some of these NGOs are privately well-funded. Some are even funded by the government, They are equipped with resources to fight for freedom of the criminals. Victims like us have nothing.
“Some of us had to borrow money to bring the cases to civil court," they said.
The families said they were sad to see that the government seems to be fighting only for the benefit of criminals.
“We feel betrayed and abandoned.”
In removing the mandatory death penalty, they said it would only make "death penalty" be seen on paper, but not in practice.
"Have you (the government) done your research to see how our neighbours keep the death penalty to protect the people and keep the city safe?"
Social Care Foundation Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Robert Phang urged the government not to abolish the mandatory death sentence.
"Don't ever make Malaysia a paradise for criminals."