KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Tan Sri Musa Hassan today said Malaysia should consider bringing back trial by jury for cases involving the death penalty in order to avoid abuse of power.
The former inspector-general of police said in the past there was trial by jury for murder cases and if bringing it back will help reduce abuse of power he is all for it.
“We don’t have a jury trial like before which would mean a preliminary enquiry in the Magistrate’s Court to see if there’s enough evidence for a conviction,” Musa told reporters after attending a meeting between the Malay-Muslim coalition Ummah and non-governmental organisations on Malaysia’s plan to abolish the death penalty.
“The Magistrate’s Court will transfer the case to the High Court followed by trial by jury. Maybe we could suggest bringing back trial by jury if it is more justifiable and protects from abuse.”
The proposed abolition of the death penalty has taken more prominence since the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim allegedly at the hands of a mob during the Seafield temple riots in USJ25, Subang Jaya on November 27 last year.
Musa said too much of the concern now were on the criminals.
“We have to balance the rights of the criminal and the rights of the victims. Right now, we’re more concerned for the criminals,” said Musa.
“The law should be enforced strictly and I’d like to advise the Malaysian public that we should support the death penalty.
“The most important thing when convicting someone is make sure there is enough evidence, justify the evidence to the judge and the judiciary will determine if the evidence is true before conviction.”
Malaysia abolished trial by jury in 1995.
The Bill to abolish the mandatory death penalty is expected to be tabled at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting, which is scheduled to begin next month.