Azalina: Govt to review mandatory death sentence for drug offences

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
Currently, the law only provides for one sentence for those convicted of drug-related offences — death. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Putrajaya has agreed to review Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and allow courts to decide on the penalty for drug offences, Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said today.

Currently, the law only provides for one sentence for those convicted of drug-related offences — death.

“The Cabinet has agreed and decided that amendments be done to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act by including additional clauses which provide discretionary powers to the courts to deal with other sentences, apart from the mandatory death penalty, in certain situations,” she told Parliament.

Azalina, who oversees law matters, said the Cabinet made the decision after Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali presented a case in favour of granting judges discretionary powers.

A former judge, Apandi had previously expressed a wish for discretionary powers instead of sending convicts to the gallows in narcotics-related offences, which also includes those coerced or duped into becoming drug mules.

Azalina said she has instructed the Solicitor-General to speed up draft amendments to the law to be tabled in Parliament.