Lam Thye lauds proposed new law to decriminalise substance abuse


KUALA LUMPUR: The government's approval of a new law to decriminalise substance abuse is a step in the right direction, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

The Alliance for a Safe Community chairman welcomed Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail's announcement that amendments to the law are in its final stages following approval by the Cabinet before being tabled in Parliament.

"It is indeed a very positive development as the matter has been brought up several times in the past.

"I’m glad the proposal (to decriminalise substance abuse) has garnered serious attention by the government as it is important to treat light drug abusers as a health issue rather than a criminal one," he said when contacted on Saturday (May 25).

Lee also hoped that the new law would be introduced soon to enable authorities to treat drug abuse as a disease.

"Such a law will also assist in addressing the problem of overcrowded prisons and at the same time, law enforcement agencies such as the police will be able to focus more on nabbing drug traffickers," he said.

He also urged the Home and Health Ministries to engage in further dialogue to ensure the drug threat is combated effectively.

"The ‘Tak Payah’ (No Need) anti-drug campaign will certainly reinforce the importance of reminding the youth about the dangers of drug use.

"The younger generation needs to be informed about alternative ways to destress such as playing sports and taking part in healthy group activities," he said.

It was reported that amendments to the law to decriminalise substance abuse and extend treatment to drug addicts are in its final stages before being tabled in Parliament in the coming months.

The Home Minister had said that following a discussion with the Cabinet, the proposal was given the thumbs up and several areas of the law will be studied in its last phase.

He said this involved discussions between the Home and Health Ministries, which are expected to be carried out in a meeting next month, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Saifuddin Nasution said this after launching the “Tak Payah” (No Need) anti-drug campaign at the Home Ministry’s monthly meeting on Thursday (May 23).

The slogan for the campaign is “Tak Payah, Tak Nak” (No Need, Don’t Want).

According to Saifuddin Nasution, the campaign was launched to commemorate the Anti-Drugs Day between February and June annually.

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