Cabinet agrees on amending mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers

KUALA LUMPUR:  Judges may be allowed to impose an appropriate penalty instead of the mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers under an amendment to the Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act (1952).

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said in a written reply in Parliament that a memorandum will be handed over to the Cabinet for an amendment to the Act.

"A research carried out by the International Centre for Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS) on this issue was presented to the Cabinet on March 1.

"The Cabinet unanimously decided that the amendment to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act was necessary," she said.

Azalina was responding to Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh who wanted to know if the government was planning to introduce a moratorium for cases under the section.

Azalina said the Cabinet decided that the Act should grant the judge the right to decide on a more appropriate sentence, such as jail terms.

She added that there could have been past cases where a judge was forced to pass the death sentence on a drug trafficker as no other sentences were available.

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