Malaysia: Home To Some Of The Toughest Drugs Laws In The World


(Malaysian policemen line up as they doing parade for United Against Crime in Kuala Lumpur.)

Malaysia has one of the toughest laws of drugs in the world. It is governed by the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 that regulates the import, export, manufacture, sale and use opium, coca leaves, poppy-straw and cannabis.  Possession or use of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and LSD is illegal and customs officers or police can have a random search on a person if they suspect they are in possession of these drugs.
 
Under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, Section 39B of this law states that if a person is caught possessing 15 grams or more of heroin, 1,000 grams of opium in any form, raw or prepared, 200 grams or more of cannabis and 40 grams or more of cocaine, they will be sentenced to death by hanging. Punishment for lighter drug related offences include imprisonment, rehabilitation and paying fines. This law applies to anyone regardless of his/her nationality can be caught and punished if convicted.
 
Death penalty can be stopped from being carried out if the Sultan says so, he is the only man in Malaysia who can stop it from happening.  He has the right and power to commute and pardon sentences for death row prisoners.
 
According to a report FMT, Malaysia’s mandatory death penalty on drug-related crime does not appear to have stopped drug dealers.  In fact, it was the reverse: there has been a steady increase over the last three years, according to a reply in Parliament. Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussei said, “Police statistics for the arrests of drug dealers under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for the past three years (2009 to 2011) have shown an increase,” he said.
 
 
According to him, in 2009, 2,955 people were arrested under this section. In 2010, 3,700 people were arrested. That was roughly 25% increase on the arrest made for a year. The number of people sentenced to death in Malaysia for drug-related offences as well as other crimes continues to rise at an alarming rate, almost tripling since 2008. As the number of people executed is not made publicly available, it is difficult to know how many of these sentences have been carried out or to confirm reports that Malaysia does not execute people in high numbers.
 
In year 2009, there were a total of 68 death sentences and 50 are for drug related offences and in year 2010, there were 114 death sentences and 53 are for drug related.
 
Since 1960, 51.70% of all executions made since 1960 was for drug related cases.
 
Gerakan Edukasi Ganja Malaysia (GENGGAM), a legalisation movement in the form of an organization aims to educate the public and raise awareness of the potential health benefits of the plant. The organization also seeks to promote government research, and their immediate goal is abolition of the death penalty for cannabis offences; however, its members must be careful to avoid negative attention.
 
In 2015, Gerakan Edukasi Ganja Malaysia (GENGGAM) was accused of selling tins of biscuits laced with marijuana on Facebook for RM60 each to a 20-year old.  They denied that they facilitated the sale with Harian Metro.

 

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17 Mar 2018


By Anna Kristina Aguila
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