TO solve overcrowding in prisons, Malaysia is set to introduce a new law later this year to decriminalise minor drug offences, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
He said the new legislation would be called the Misuse of Drugs and Substances (Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation).
“We are expecting this Bill to be tabled this year,” he said.
The minister said that under the current Dangerous Drugs Act, Section 15(1), individuals caught with drugs face a RM5,000 fine or two years in prison.
“The government plans to change the law,” he added.
Saifuddin Nasution said there will be two types of drug rehabilitation programmes: one involving the National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK), the community, or both.
“Rehabilitation under the AADK will take two years, and the user comes out and joins another programme for two years. If the drug user is sent to rehabilitation programmes in the community, it will take three years,” he said.
He was responding to Wong Chen (PH-Subang), who asked about the government’s commitment to decriminalising minor drug offences to reduce the prison population.
Saifuddin Nasution said there are now 39 prisons nationwide with a combined population of 74,459 inmates. However, these prisons only have a capacity to hold 65,000 inmates.