Hawker sent to gallows for drug trafficking

PUTRAJAYA: A hawker was sentenced to death for trafficking in 41.7gm of heroin and monoacetylmorphines following a cross-appeal by the prosecution under the amended Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA).

A three-member Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Nor Bee Ariffin, substituted the 30-year life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the rotan with the capital punishment.

“The appeal is allowed and substituted with the death penalty,” said Nor Bee, who sat with Hadhariah Syed Ismail and Nordin Hassan.

Zaliman Zakariah, 33, committed the offence in front of an apartment in Bayan Lepas, Penang, on Feb 1, 2016.

On Jan 30 last year, High Court judge Akhtar Tahir imposed the maximum (30-year) jail term and 15 strokes of the rotan after finding Zaliman guilty of trafficking.

Zaliman was appealing against conviction.

Court-appointed lawyer Anwar Raof, who represented Zaliman, said the drugs were found in the accused mother’s car. Zaliman was in possession of the ignition key.

“The accused had no knowledge, custody and control of the drugs to be found guilty of trafficking,” he said.

Deputy public prosecutor Nahra Dollah submitted that the trial judge had failed to consider Section 39B (2A) of the DDA.

Among the conditions imposed to get the jail term is that the convicted person should have assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia.

The government then amended the law in 2017 to give courts the option of imposing either penalty albeit subject to certain conditions set out by the public prosecutor.

The new law came into effect on March 15, 2018.