By Quah Ling Shi (P.104 Subang Intern, 2023)
It is posited that the current age of criminal responsibility in Malaysia not only falls short of addressing youth crime but is, in fact, exacerbating it. Thus, the aim of this paper is to make the case for the age of criminal responsibility in Malaysia to be raised to at least 12 years old.
First, this paper evaluates Malaysia's approach to youth crime within the criminal justice system before establishing Malaysia's obligations as a signatory of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child. Subsequently, this paper will examine the potential political, social, and economic benefits of raising the age of criminal responsibility, while also highlighting the significant impact of biological development on an individual's level of maturity. The paper also assesses the effectiveness of the doli incapax principle and Section 83 of the Penal Code, identifying any weaknesses.
Most importantly, this paper identifies the age at which a minor can face equivalent criminal punishment to that of an adult, particularly with regards to imprisonment.
Finally, the paper concludes with a case study of Japan’s youth offending interventions, identifying the potential strengths that may be implemented in Malaysia.