Malaysia plans to abolish the death penalty, according to the prime minister's office, in a decision described by human rights advocates as a major step forward for the country.

The cabinet decided to scrap the death sentence for all crimes, after Kuala Lumpur announced a moratorium on executions in July, Liew Vui Keong, minister of law in the prime minister's office, said.

“All death penalty will be abolished. Full stop," Mr Liew said after an event at University of Malaya, according to local press.

A proposed bill is expected to be tabled at the next parliamentary sitting scheduled for October 15. 

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said in a statement that the announcement was "a major step forward for all those who have campaigned for an end to the death penalty in Malaysia. Malaysia must now join the 106 countries who have turned their backs for good on the ultimate cruel, inhumane, degrading punishment – the world is watching," adding this practice has been "a terrible stain on its human rights record for years".

Soon after the landmark electoral victory of the Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) in May, Muhyiddin Yassin, home minister, said the death penalty was one of seven laws in need of revision, in line with the ruling coalition's manifesto. 

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last month voiced his support for a man facing the death penalty for selling cannabis oil to patients and called for his sentence to be reviewed.

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