Malaysian parliament to decide on abolishing death penalty
Malaysia's parliament convened on Monday after a two-month adjournment with the proposed abolition of the death penalty and the Defense White Paper among other matters high on the agenda between Oct. 7 and Dec. 5.
Currently, the law provides for a mandatory death sentence for 11 offences under the country's laws including murder, armed robbery, waging war against the King, as well as for the illegal possession and use of firearms.
The abolition of the death sentence was one of the several election promises made by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, which won power during the national polls in May last year.
The National Defense White Paper, meant to shape the direction of Malaysia's defense policies and systems for the next 10 years, will also be tabled for parliament to review for the first time.
Deputy Defense Minister Liew Chin Tong had previously said the government would apply the whole-of-government and the whole-of-society approach in formulating the DWP so that all levels of society will understand their importance, and take joint responsibility.
Also to be tabled will be the national budget for 2020, detailing the 314.5 billion ringgit (US$75.14 billion) earmarked for next year's expenditure.
On the political balance, former ruling United Malays's National Organization inked a formal pact for cooperation with Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party in September, ending decades of political rivalry and posing a potential challenge to the incumbent government.
Azmi Hassan from University of Technology Malaysia said the pact would not have a significance on the balance of power in parliament as the two parties had already cooperated in several by-elections since the national polls.
However, Azmi said UMNO-PAS partnership could have an impact on the expected transition of power from Mahathir to his former deputy Anwar Ibrahim, who has said he expected to take over next year.
"Anwar Ibrahim has already openly said next year will be his time to take over as the prime minister and with PAS openly said they prefer Mahathir for the full term. It should be interesting to observe UMNO stand since as a political party they never put out who they prefer," he said.