MIRI (June 18): Further studies are needed on the proposed ‘diyat’ as an alternative to the mandatory death penalty.
In Arabic, the word translates to “blood money”. In Islamic law, it is compensation payable to the victim or close relative of a victim of a case of murder, bodily injury or property damage.
It is an alternative to ‘qisas’ which, in the syariah, provides for equal punishment for the crime committed.
“I welcome that, but more studies should be done to find the mechanism or effective guidelines for its application.
“To be fair to the victim or the victim’s family, the terms of the settlement under diyat must gain court approval so that justice is delivered to both parties,” said Kabong MP Mohd Chee Kadir, who is also attorney for both parties. civil and syariah background, says Borneo Post.
According to him, the diyat is provided for by Syariah law and has been practiced in Muslim society.
Minister of the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Idris Ahmad, was reported to have said the government had a “long” discussion over the proposal to make the diyat a substitute for the mandatory death penalty.
Malaysia has imposed a moratorium on executions since 2018, when it also pledged to abolish mandatory and discretionary capital punishment.
However, the death penalty must stay on the books and in future judges would have the discretion to impose an alternative sentence for the 23 crimes for which the death penalty is provided.
Idris also said that it should be necessary to set up a special committee, which would be managed by the Minister of the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, and the views of the parties concerned would be sought. .
Several lawyers had pointed out that compensating the families of victims of serious crimes could anger the public because it would create a situation of “forgiveness without punishment”.
Quoting a report on the matter published by a news portal, Suzana Norlihan noted: “Islam teaches forgiveness, but members of the public would still be outraged if a wealthy offender walked away unpunished after paying the diyat, what it can afford, and can repeat the offense to an extent that could cause the public to lose faith in the criminal justice system.
She said the government should consider the public interest in the discussion, adding that “Islam also teaches that any law should take into account the current situation in the country, especially if corruption was rampant.”
“Nevertheless, I believe the diyat would benefit the families of the deceased victims, who were the sole breadwinners or caregivers in their household.”
Another lawyer, Akberdin Abdul Kader, considered the diyat “doable” in Malaysia.
“This has been done in Middle Eastern countries, but the government needs to create guidelines on the rate of payment based on the seriousness of the crime committed,” he said.