PETALING JAYA, Sept 21 – The seven youths held over the tahfiz fire last Thursday cannot be punished with the death penalty as they are underage, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
She said that the suspects will be tried in accordance with laws such as Section 97 (1) of the Child Act 2001.
However, if the suspects are found guilty of murder, the mandatory death penalty cannot be imposed on them, she said in a statement Thursday.
The offenders may also be punished under Section 91 (1) of the Act, which includes whipping, fines or detention at an approved school.
Police have confirmed that the seven, aged between 11 and 18, were detained for murder and causing mischief in connection with the fire on Sept 14.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun also said that the parents of the suspects would not be charged as they had nothing to do with the case.
Azalina said the incident should be used as a lesson for all parties, especially parents, in the fight against crime involving children.
“I urge all parties to stop speculating and give space to the authorities to complete the investigation.
“I believe the case will be brought to justice,” she said.
The early morning fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school resulted in the deaths of 21 students and two teachers.