Malaysia urges neighbours to review execution of drug mules, says users need hospitals, not prisons

Jerry Choong
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong attends the Human Rights Day Forum in Kuala Lumpur December 10, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Having halted the mandatory death sentence on drug-related convictions, the Malaysian government is asking other countries to do the same.

De facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said governments needed to review their laws that provide for the execution of drug traffickers to discern between the masterminds and those being used to deliver the illicit substances.

“There are far-reaching implications of this, and mainly, if you are a drug addict or abuser, you need medical treatment and not imprisonment,” Liew told reporters after attending the Malaysian Human Rights Commission’s commemoration of the International Human Rights Day at the Sheraton Hotel here.

He said drug lords should be punished accordingly, and consideration given to drug mules.

“For drug mules who have gone in for just a few hundred ringgit to a country, with most of them duped and led to do all these things, I definitely do not think they deserved to be hanged.

“They deserved to be sentenced to imprisonment, not hanged,” Liew added.

He said there were many cases in which the drug carrier was presumed to have full knowledge that the goods they were transporting were illegal substances punishable with death.

“They love to use this word, presumption. They are talking about importing drugs into their country without even producing a shred of evidence that you are importing or trafficking all these things.

“Because trafficking means to say that there must be a buyer and seller, and there must be a transaction but if you are just carrying it, then you are not really trafficking in that sense,” Liew said.

He also added that there have been several instances where the mules were under the influence of other substances that prevented them from thinking rationally when they were caught red-handed.

In his speech earlier, Liew made an indirect reference to Singapore as “our neighbours down south across the Causeway” as one of the countries which still upheld harsh measures against convicted drug traffickers.

Several Malaysians have been executed in Changi Prison this year on drug-related charges despite Malaysia’s request for clemency.

While the death penalty still exists in Malaysia, executions for drug-related offences have stopped.

Prior to that, those in possession of over 15g of heroin or morphine, 1kg of raw or prepared opium, 200g of cannabis and over 40g of cocaine would automatically be sentenced to hang until dead.

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