An Australian grandmother will be given just 24-hours notice before she is hanged for smuggling drugs into Malaysia, the country's self-described 'number one' executioner has revealed.
A former prison official who presided over 130 hangings across five Malaysian jails has given Daily Mail Australia an extraordinary insight into the final hours of a death row inmate.
In an exclusive interview in Kuala Lumpur, the retired former chief hangman, 61, said the executions always begin at dawn, just after the morning prayers.
Scroll down for video
The man who was once Malaysia's 'number one executioner' (pictured) has explained how an Australian grandmother convicted of drug trafficking will die
Australian woman Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto (centre) has been given the death sentence after being convicted of drug trafficking charges in Malaysia. She was first arrested in early 2015
'That is the best time,' said the officer, who asked his name not to be published for safety reasons. 'People wake up, their mind is always at peace.
'It's very quiet, the whole prison is very quiet, especially the Muslims, they pray.
'People in the death knell are praying for the (inmate about to be hanged), the Christians, the people in the other blocks are praying for them too - they know that.'
The ex-hangman opened up about the country's secretive execution process after a Malaysian court sentenced Sydney woman Maria Exposto, 54, to death.
Like many before her, in 2014, Ms Exposto was caught at Kuala Lumpur international airport carrying a bag laced with drugs - more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine. She claimed she was 'duped' into carrying the substance by an online romance scammer.
Drug smuggling carries a mandatory death penalty in Malaysia. Activists have long criticised the hardline policy as 'barbaric, cruel and inhumane', but it has broad public support.
This week, the former prison chief outlined a grim future for Ms Exposto if a final appeal against her death sentence fails.
The officer, who asked for his name not to be published for safety reasons, sat down with Daily Mail Australia to explain how Exposto will only be told she will die 24 hours before the hanging
Over his career the executioner directly hanged 70 people, and supervised about 60 more
Exposto was sentenced to death on May 24, more than three years after she was first arrested
The former executioner explains to journalist Daniel Piotrowski what the final moments of Exposto's life will be like inside the Malaysian prison
THE FINAL DAYS
The estimated 1346 Malaysian prisoners currently on death row face a long wait, the executioner said. It can take up to 11 years behind bars for inmates to step into the gallows.
The prison starts preparing for the hanging one month before. The chief executioner chooses an appropriate date and time and selects a support team to prepare the chamber, place the noose around the inmate's neck and pull the trapdoor lever.
'We inform the family one week earlier, for preparation by the family (with) what they want to do with the body,' the hangman said.
'We inform the family the execution will be carried out, in this prison, between this time, at this date.
'(We say), please be there one day before this.'
But the inmate does not learn they will be put to death until 24 hours before they are hanged. That morning, the prisoner is summoned to a meeting with the prison director and told it is their last full day on Earth.
The jail has received a death penalty warrant, the director tells them, and 'yes, your family knows already'. 'Immediately after seeing the director, they (are) taken out to a room, then the family comes in,' the official said.
'Anyone from the family can come, no problem … That part is always very emotional.'
Exposto is currently being held inside the notorious Kajang prison (pictured) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital
A prisoner speaks at a table as dozens of other inmates sit in large