KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail today said that a new drug law will be tabled in Parliament by this year.
He said the new law — Drug and Substance Abuse (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act — will help reduce the population in prisons.
“When the new Bill is passed, the difference is that the end result would not be the prison, instead, it will be the rehabilitation centre,” Saifuddin told the Parliament.
He was responding to PKR’s Subang MP Wong Chen, who asked about the Ministry’s commitment to decriminalise minor drug offences in an effort to reduce the reprising population in the country.
Saifuddin added that under the new law, those testing positive for narcotics would be sent to treatment or rehabilitation schemes under the National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK), which would take two to three years.
“So, it’s different now, (when) they might end up in prison,” he said.
Saifuddin added that 74,459 offenders are currently housed in 39 prisons in Malaysia, above their maximum capacity of 65,000.
According to him, the main purpose of the new law is to encourage a diversion policy from punishment to rehabilitation.
In addition, he said after prisoners done serving their sentence also typically faced difficulty reintegrating into society.
“So, we place them in transit homes while we try to get them a job,” he said.