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THERE is an immediate need for the country’s laws to be transformed to keep up with changing times, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
At the golden jubilee of University Malaya’s (UM) Faculty of Law, he said improvements will ensure the wellbeing of the nation.
The prime minister said the government has implemented significant legal transformation, adding that he had instructed the Prime Minister’s Department’s legal affairs division to study and review existing laws, including 147 deemed obsolete.
“For example, digital technology is rapidly developing. In this context, existing laws are no longer relevant with this digital technology boom, and in fact, are even somewhat behind with current changes.
“Existing laws such as the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953, for example, only applies to enforcement against gambling activities in building premises and not online,” he said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said the government was implementing several measures in empowering the legal system, among which is the proposal to abolish the mandatory death penalty.
“Many are confused about the abolition of the mandatory death penalty announced recently, as if the death penalty had been abolished.
“The government has not done away with the death penalty, but it will (now) be left to the discretion of the judges to determine if an offender should be given the death sentence or an alternative punishment,” he said.
He said this objective should be the basis and policy for the government and policymakers in matters related to criminal punishment to find the best, appropriate and effective sentence.
Ismail also said that party hopping, especially after the last general election, had hampered the constitutional process of democracy in Malaysia.
In this regard, he said the anti-party hopping bill draft by the parliamentary special select committee was now in its final stages and expected to be tabled in Parliament in July.
Besides this, the prime minister said there is also the political funding bill to enhance the transparency of political contributions by reducing the risk of corruption and any abuse of power.
He said each policy formulated by the government is based on the spirit of togetherness by taking into account the interests of every Malaysian.
The prime minister said the laws passed in Parliament were debated with the same spirit by MPs, adding that the judiciary should also do the same when interpreting the law.
“As someone with a legal background, I have great respect for the doctrine of separation of powers and freedom at every branch.