By Hakimie Amrie Hisamudin for Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: An expert in epidemiology has called for a halt to the jailing of minor drug offenders, saying this would reduce overcrowding in prisons and be in the interest of containing the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Ehab Salah, who works for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said the existing prison environment was not conducive to measures to contain virus transmission.

Key preventive measures such as social distancing and the use of face masks were not applicable in the prison setting, he added.

Ehab alleged that prisoners were not receiving healthcare services of the same standard available to the public at large.

Prior to the Covid-18 pandemic, he said, the spread of tuberculosis, HIV and Hepatitis C in Malaysian prisons were always a health concern.