KUALA LUMPUR: Judges may be given some leeway to mete out an appropriate prison term instead of imposing the mandatory death penalty on drug traffickers under an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act (1952).
The Star Online today reported Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said saying in a written reply in Parliament that a memorandum will be handed to the Cabinet for an amendment to the Act.
“A research carried out by the International Centre for Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS) on this issue was presented to the Cabinet on March 1.
“The Cabinet unanimously decided that the amendment to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act was necessary,” she was reported to have said.
The English news portal reported that the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department was responding to Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh who wanted to know if the government was planning to introduce a moratorium for section 39B cases which carried the death penalty upon conviction.
Azalina said the Cabinet decided that the Act should grant the judge the right to decide on a more appropriate sentence, such as a jail term.
She added that there could have been cases in the past where a judge was forced to pass the death sentence on a drug trafficker because no other sentences were available.