Malaysia parliament passes bill to remove mandatory death penalty for drug offences

Malaysia’s parliament has passed a bill to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act, abolishing the mandatory death penalty for drug-related offences.

The amendment to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 will allow judges more discretionary power in sentencing drug offenders.

“The government had taken into consideration the views and suggestions of 30 million Malaysians in drafting the amendment which will add an element of mercy in a certain situation where the judge sees fit,” Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was quoted by New Straits Times as saying.

She added that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak felt it was time for such an initiative in the government’s war on drugs.

According to her, a total of 702,319 people have been arrested for drug trafficking and possession from January 2014 to October 2017.

Out of these, 1,743 were schoolchildren and 1,953 were college and university students

According to The Malay Mail Online, the amendment bill will not apply in retrospective for previous convictions.