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The Commercialization Of Drugs In Malasya

2372 words - 9 pages

According to the Malaysian legislation, specifically the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, drug trafficking activities include the ‘manufacturing, importing, exporting, keeping, concealing, buying, selling, giving, receiving, storing, administering, transporting, carrying, sending, delivering, procuring, supplying, or distributing’ of any prohibited drugs including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, morphine, heroin, opium among others (Dangerous Drugs Act, 1952). Drug misuse is considered a demoralizing factor in nation-building thus anti-drug law is regulated with an aim to create a society free of drugs, in terms of both supply and demand, thus enabling a morally-conscious and functioning nation. Nevertheless, the numbers of drug addicts and drug traffickers are still worrying. There is a total of 10,500 drug traffickers detained between 2006-2011, and there is a reported total of 7,864 drug addicts, 3,096 of whom are repeat offenders, in Malaysia regardless of the strict regulations impose against drugs (Laporan Dadah Bulan Disember 2013, n.d.). This paper will seek to examine whether Malaysia’s progress towards achieving a drug-free nation and its limitations by exploring the factors contributing to the drug issue, in terms of both demand and supply, and an analysis on the history of prohibited drugs in Malaysia.

The commercialisation of drugs in Malaya since the early 19th Century generated much political influence and financial wealth for the British India Company. There were three main types of drugs evident in Malaya at the time — opium, morphine and cannabis. Opium was regulated by the British especially after 1910 when the Company gained full control of opium sale, import and distribution, while morphine and cannabis was not regulated. Cannabis was the least prevalent at the time and was used exclusively by Indian immigrants. Opium, on the other hand, was the most prevalent and made legal by the Company. Opium was traded for ‘purchasing tea from China and exchanging goods such as spices from the Malay Archipelago’ (Kamarudin, 2007 p.3). Opium smoking was first introduced by the Chinese and although there is no record indicating the exact year it was introduced, the earliest account of the habit is 1897. Opium was smoked for medicinal purposes, believed to be the best prevention of tuberculosis, diarrhoea and malaria, and for muscle relief. Opium was also used for recreational purposes, mainly an activity after a day’s work. Although the government licensed all retailers of opium after 1910, most Chinese labourers and miners smoked their own opium that was converted to chandu imported by their ‘Chinese labour employers and mine owners’ (Kamarudin, 2007 p.5). Morphine sale and use was also quite prominent during 19th Century Malaya however, records, of both use and sale of the time, are fairly limited. The earliest restriction in drugs use is the Geneva Convention on Drugs 1925 caused sale and use of opium was only permitted to registered...

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