Drug traffickers not the same as drug addicts, says law minister

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong.

KUALA LUMPUR: De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong today urged countries that still impose the death penalty on drug mules and addicts to review their laws, saying not all who are sentenced deserve to be hanged.

Speaking to reporters after an event in conjunction with Human Rights Day, he said there should be a separate review of laws for drug traffickers and drug mules, adding that traffickers deserve to be punished.

“(But) drug addicts need medical treatment, not imprisonment. They do not deserve to be hanged.

“Drug mules may have been led to do such things for a few hundred ringgit,” he added. “They should not be sentenced to death, either.”

He added that people are sometimes given the death penalty based on presumptions.

“You should know what you are carrying,” he said, adding however that there is always a buyer as well as a seller.

“But just carrying it in your bag is considered trafficking.”

He also spoke of those who may be under the influence of other drugs while trafficking, and of large amounts of drugs seized without the accompanying arrest of culprits.

“What is happening here?” he said, referring to an incident in September where police foiled the smuggling of RM2.4 billion worth of cocaine into the country.

He said the government is awaiting a report on recommended alternatives to the death sentence from the special committee on the mandatory death penalty, which he expects to receive by January.

On Muhammad Lukman Mohamad, popularly known as “Doktor Ganja”, who has been sentenced to death, Liew said the government will await the Court of Appeal’s decision before taking further steps.