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Death penalty not deterring drug trade

 | March 19, 2012

More people have been arrested over drug dealing, despite the shadow of the mandatory death penalty hanging over their heads.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s mandatory death penalty on drug-related crime does not appear to have stopped drug dealers .

In fact, it was the reverse: there has been a steady increase over the last three years, according to a reply in Parliament.

In a written answer to Bukit Gelugor MP (DAP) Karpal Singh, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that 3,845 people had been arrested for drug dealing in 2011.

“Police statistics for the arrests of drug dealers under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for the past three years (2009 to 2011) have shown an increase,” he said.

According to him, in 2009, 2,955 people were arrested under this section. In 2010, 3,700 people were arrested.

Karpal had asked if the 1983 amendments to the Act – which would slap serious drug offenders with capital punishment – had been effective in reducing drug-related crime.

To this, Hishammuddin said that the increase was caused by the trade’s ability to make a lot of money quickly; globalisation, creating a borderless world, which opened up a space for drug-dealing; and the “easier process” in which synthetic drugs were made, through the availability of chemical formulas and ingredients.

Previously, the Bar Council said that 32 countries around the world had death penalty for drug-related crime.

Of this number, 13 of them still enforced the mandatory death penalty, which included Malaysia.

The Bar Council’s president Lim Chee Wee said that most drug traffickers and dealers were “low-ranking drug mules”, who were the easiest (in the trade) to apprehend.

He added that there was no proof that the death penalty helped to cut down on drug-related crime.


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