Shop owner fined for possessing slimming products containing banned appetite suppressant in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The Sessions Court on Thursday (March 23) slapped a shop owner here with a RM3,500 fine after slimming products that contained a chemical that was banned in Malaysia was found in his possession.

Munavar Abd Majeed, 55, pleaded guilty before Sessions Court judge Elsie Primus to a charge under Section 13(a) of the Poisons Act 1952 for having the product "Choco Fit" which contained sibutramine.

The 55-year-old accused admitted before the court that he possessed five boxes of the product for sale at the Mazuin Beauty World in Putatan near here at 11.40am on July 4, 2019.

Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant classified under Group B in the First Schedule of the Poisons Act 1952. It can only, under the law, be dispensed by licensed personnel.

However, sibutramine has since been banned in the Malaysian market since 2013 due to the possibility of a risk to the cardiovascular system.

The accused faces a maximum fine of RM3,500 or jail time up to a year, or both, if found guilty under Section 13(a) of the Poisons Act 1952 and punishable under Section 32(2) of the same Act.

Munavar, who was unrepresented, had pleaded for leniency from the court during mitigation, claiming that he did not know the product contained the said chemical.

State Pharmacy Department assistant director (enforcement) Andrew Roy Pereira in his response, however, asked the court to impose a more appropriate sentence so as to serve a lesson to Munavar.

He said this was not the accused’s first transgression as he had a previous conviction for a similar offence in 2014.

Having been found guilty before, he said the accused should exert responsibility to ensure all products sold in his shop were safe for consumers besides complying with the Health Ministry’s standard specifications.

The court was also told that Munavar lacked any licence to sell poison.

"Sibutramine is known for being an appetite suppressant. But there is no product containing sibutramine registered under the Drug Control Authority (DCA) to date," Pereira told the court.

"This was because sibutramine has been associated with increased risk of adverse cardiovascular effects," he added.

Munavar later paid the fine.

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