Minister: Putrajaya to expedite decriminalisation of drug addiction

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur October 29, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur October 29, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — The government will use a special committee to hasten legal amendments that would decriminalise drug addiction, said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

He said that in the Cabinet meeting last week, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said his ministry should meet with the Home Affairs Ministry and Chief Secretary to gather information on the matter.

“My ministry is involved in this because drugs can kill the future of youths.

“Our stand is that we should distinguish between the drugs addicts that require treatment and the drug trafficker. Addicts are not criminal and should not be sent to prison,” he said in a press conference at Parliament lobby today.

Syed Saddiq did not reveal any time frame for the committee, saying that it will be used to engage related parties in order to get more information.

He said that it is important that youths be given a second chance in life for such offences and not be ostracised by society.

“Before this, what we have is superficial, not much facts.

“Of course we still need to look into standards and legal issues such as the quantity possession of the drugs should be discussed further.

“This matter involves the youth, unfortunately the majority are from poor backgrounds and when arrested they could not post bail... In the end they just plead guilty and are imprisoned,” he said.

In June, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad announced that the government was planning to remove penalties against drug possession for personal use.

He stressed that this was not a move to legalise drug distribution or trafficking.

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