Malaysia is set to review its criminal penalties for drug 'abuse' offences by taking a treatment-based or rehabilitation-based approach, says law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said.
Azalina, who chaired a discussion with representatives from various ministries and NGOs on the matter earlier today, said that such an approach is in line with international norms.
She added that although many local agencies have worked hard to contain the 'scourge of drug abuse' in Malaysia, the issue has still not been resolved.
Instead, Azalina said, it has led to other systemic issues such as overcrowding in prisons and an overburdened criminal justice system.
“The unity government sees the issue of drug abuse as not only a criminal issue, but a health issue that impacts society in terms of socioeconomic and health perspectives,” she said.