PETALING JAYA: A group of protestors held a candlelight vigil outside the Kajang Prison on Friday (Sept 21) in conjunction with the International Day of Peace in support of the decriminalisation of medical marijuana.
Activists gathered at the entrance of the Kajang Prison at 8pm with flowers, candles and posters. They called for the abolishment of the death penalty and the decriminalisation of medical marijuana.
The candlelight vigil was organised by two groups advocating the legalisation of marijuana for medical purposes, the Malaysia Awareness Society (Masa) and Malaysia Medical Marijuana.
Prison guards observed the peaceful demonstration that lasted until 9.15pm.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia central committee member S. Arutchelvan who was at the vigil said Malaysia should build more hospitals to help drug addicts rehabilitate, and not more prisons.
"We should not criminalise people who are addicted to drugs, our rehabilitation centres are basically prisons," he said.
He claimed that marijuana has been proven to have medical benefits and thus its use for medical purposes should be legalised and regulated.
"Those who are self-medicating have been given the death sentence. A right to life is guaranteed under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution," he said.
President of Masa Yuuki Setsuna said countries around the world, including Philippines have taken action towards legalising medical marijuana, yet in Malaysia, a person found in possession of 200g of marijuana can be sentenced to death under the Dangerous Drugs Act.
"If one day cannabis is legalised in Malaysia, how can we justify their deaths, how do we explain it to their families? The death penalty is not the end, it will continue to haunt the families," she said.
"There is no evidence to show that the death sentence can deter any crime. It is irreversible and inhumane," said Masa secretary Harish Kumar.
The issue of harsh penalties for possession of medical marijuana has been in the limelight due to the death sentence handed out to Muhammad Lukman last month.
Lukman, a 29-year-old father of one, was arrested in December 2015 for the possession of 3.1 litres of cannabis oil, 279g of compressed cannabis and 1.4kg of substance containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
On Aug 30, Lukman was handed a death sentence under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 by the Shah Alam High Court.