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Malaysia: Ex-odd job worker gets 30 years for trafficking in 245kg of cannabis

V Anbalagan

Free Malaysia Today

Wednesday 26 Jun 2024

The Court of Appeal, which set aside the death penalty against Faizal Zainal Abidin, also ordered him to be whipped 24 times.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today commuted the death sentence of a former odd-job worker to a 30-year jail term on two counts of trafficking 245kg of cannabis eight years ago.

A three-member bench chaired by Justice Che Ruzima Ghazali also ordered Faizal Zainal Abidin, 46, to be given 24 strokes of the rotan, the maximum allowed under the law.

Che Ruzima, who sat with Justices Azmi Ariffin and Azhahari Kamal Ramli, said the jail term was to begin from March 13, 2016.

He said the bench was aware of the excess weight of the drugs involved, but also considered the mitigating factor in substituting the death penalty with a jail sentence.

Faizal was sentenced to 30 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the rotan on each of the charges.

“The jail terms will run concurrently (30 years) while the whipping will be handed out consecutively (24 strokes),” Che Ruzima said.

Faizal had earlier been found guilty of trafficking in 190kg of cannabis at a house in Subang Jaya at about 3pm on March 12, 2016.

He had also been found to have trafficked 155kg of the same drug at a parking lot near the house on the same day.

One is deemed to be a trafficker of cannabis if in possession of 200g and above of the drug.

The Shah Alam High Court had sentenced Faizal to death on Sept 29, 2022.

However, the law was amended last year to give judges discretion to impose capital punishment or a custodial sentence.

At the outset of today’s proceeding, lawyer Gurbachan Singh informed the bench that the Attorney-General’s Chambers had rejected a representation to reduce the charge to possession.

The lawyer, who was assisted by Gobindeep Singh, conceded that the trial judge was right in convicting Faizal for trafficking.

“(However) I would urge the bench to interfere with the sentence since the law has been amended to abolish the mandatory death penalty,” he said.

Gurbachan said his client, who was the sole breadwinner and had a 72-year-old mother to support, had repented.

Deputy public prosecutor Solehah Noratikah Ismail, however, urged the bench to retain the death penalty to serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders.

“On both counts, the drugs found were excessive in weight,” she said.

According to the facts of the case, the drugs were brought from Sungai Petani, Kedah by a syndicate.

The police trailed Faizal who was driving a car laden with cannabis, and nabbed him in Subang Jaya after observing his activities at a house there.

Further investigations revealed that he had occupied the house with a monthly rental of RM1,400 since Jan 1, 2015.




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