By FTM Reporters

PETALING JAYA: Padang Serai MP N Surendran has slammed amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, saying the new bill tabled for first reading in Parliament today does not remove the mandatory death penalty and breaches the doctrine of separation of powers.

Surendran, who is also a lawyer, said according to the new Section 39B (2A), only those who received a certificate from the public prosecutor verifying that they were only the couriers and had assisted in disrupting drug trafficking activities would be spared the death penalty.

“The court still has no option but to sentence to death all those accused persons who are denied the attorney-general’s certificate.

“Thus, the attorney-general and his prosecutors will effectively hold the power to decide whether an accused person faces the hangman’s noose or not,” he said in a statement.

He added that the court would be unable to question the giving or denial of the certificate, as the bill provides that this be done at the “sole discretion” of the public prosecutor.

On Aug 7, the cabinet unanimously agreed to allow judges to impose an appropriate penalty on drug traffickers instead of the mandatory death sentence under an amendment to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said said the cabinet had decided that the act should allow judges the right to decide on more appropriate sentences such as jail terms.

In the past, she said, judges had been forced to pass the death sentence on drug traffickers as no other sentences were available.

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