Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, on 26.8.1977:
Malaysian conscience shocked by mandatory death sentence on 14 years old on firearms charge.
The Malaysian conscience was shocked this morning when Malaysians woke up this morning to read from their newspaper about the death sentence passed a 14-year-old boy by the Penang High Court for guilty of having a pistol and ammunition.
I do not want to go into the merits or demerits of the case. It however highlights of a law which makes it mandatory for a death sentence to be passed even on a 14- year- old boy regardless of the surrounding circumstances of the possession of firearms.
Malaysians must be asking themselves whether we have really such a cruel and blind law on our statute books.
Whatever the final outcome of case, a person, however young, should not be sentenced mandatorily to death.
The DAP shares the concern of all Malaysians and believe that clemency and compassion is the quality of a civilized society, and not a thirst for blood. The DAP pledges to do all that we can to ensure that such an uncivilized law will not disgrace and banish Malaysia from the community of civilized nations. If necessary, the DAP will mobilise Malaysian public opinion and awaken not only Malaysian, but international opinion, on this issue.
I call on the Attorney- General to respond to the shocked Malaysian conscience and to take immediate action to amend the law so that it is not mandatory for the courts to pass a death sentence on a teenager as young as it.