Malaysia should supervise, not criminalise marijuana usage, Youth Parliament told

A Selangor representative says the government should supervise the use of marijuana here instead of criminalising it entirely. ― Reuters pic
A Selangor representative says the government should supervise the use of marijuana here instead of criminalising it entirely. ― Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 ― Putrajaya should consider regulating the use of marijuana here instead of criminalising it entirely, a Selangor representative told the second Youth Parliament sitting today.

Muhamad Ridhwan Muhamad Rosli, who heads the Youth Parliament’s spirituality and religious committee, claimed that many youths have suggested this to him, especially as Malaysia recently ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement along with 11 other nations, some of which legalise the use of the drug.

He went on the explain that many youths here do not even see marijuana, also known as weed or ganja, as a drug.

“Hold on, hold on. I am merely expressing the views of the youths that I meet at the grassroots,” he said after drawing thumps of support from the other youths in the Dewan Rakyat here, which is being used for the sitting.

Muhamad Ridhwan said the youths he met said the government should go as far as to legalise marijuana.

“They said ganja is legal in the US (United States) and Australia and these countries are part of the TPP.

“Therefore, we should follow suit and be on par with them so as not to be against the TPP,” he added.

Muhamad Ridhwan quickly stressed, however, that he was not advocating the call to legalise the drug, but only wanted the authorities regulate its usage.

“We are not asking for it to be legalised but supervised,” he said.

He also claimed that statistics have shown that only 8 per cent of drug users are addicted to marijuana, while 60 per cent are hooked on morphine and heroine, and the remaining 30 per cent are on methamphetamines.

The youth leader did not specify where the data was from, however.

“If we supervise the use of ganja, perhaps the numbers could be reduced to nil,” he said, adding that the government should employ a more holistic method in the rehabilitation of drug addicts.

Meanwhile, Sarawak representative Hannah Maria Lamat urged the public to not classify drug addicts as criminals, as addiction itself cannot be criminalised.

“A drug addict is not a criminal but an addict and they can only become criminals if they resort to robbing, raping or indulge in other negative things,” she said.

The youths were debating a motion calling on the government to amend current laws on enforcement and combating drug abuse among youths.

This is the second Youth Parliament sitting after it's debut in January last year.

Unlike the actual Parliament, the youth version is not divided between the government and the opposition but are split across several committees, which are tasked to table motions on particular issues to be debated.

The two-day sitting that began today involves 124 youths representing every state in the country.

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