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Home Ministry working on new bill to send drug offenders to rehab, not prisons


Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the bill was discussed at a law enforcement committee meeting on drugs at the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK). -NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH


SERDANG: The Home Ministry will present to the cabinet a new bill related to drugs and abuse of substance in July this year.


Once enforced, it will see offenders found with small amounts of drugs being sent to rehabilitation institutes instead of prisons.


Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the bill was discussed at a law enforcement committee meeting on drugs at the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK).


The bill, he said, would pave the way to a new Act named Abuse of Drugs and Materials to address the existing provisions under Section 15 and Section 12 of the Dangerous Drugs Act.


"When this new law (comes into effect), for offences where the amount of drugs found on one's body is small, whether it is owning the substance or using it, the idea is not to deem it as a regular drug related offence but to decriminalise it.


"Offenders will be sent to rehabilitation institutions under AADK and not to prisons so that we do not congest the facilities.


"The ministry secretary-general and I were briefed on the progress of the bill and it is moving as scheduled. Our target is to bring it to the cabinet in July.


"Once an approval is given by the cabinet, we will work with the Attorney-General's Chambers to come up with a draft. If all goes well, the first reading can be made in parliament this year," he said after attending the Home Ministry's Hari Raya Madani celebrations here today. - By Dawn Chan, NSTP



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