Two Malaysian politicians—Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Minister of Economy Rafizi Ramli—laughed off the discovery of a parcel addressed to them that was found to contain a THC-infused toothpaste product, saying they have no idea where the package came from.
On March 10, Sepang District police confiscated a parcel believed to contain a tube of toothpaste infused with THC addressed to two politicians at a courier hub on Pulau Meranti, near Putrajaya. The parcel was sent anonymously, perhaps as a prank.
The toothpaste was labeled “Happy Green” with patterns of fan leaves in green and white, and the item was bought through an online shopping platform with an address in Indonesia.
Minister of Economy Rafizi Ramli held a press conference held in the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the matter. “I just think it’s a waste,” Ramli joked. “Because I don’t take weed.” Both politicians claim they have no idea why the package was addressed to them.
“I don’t know but the parcel was addressed to me and the prime minister,” he said. “Because I don’t take weed so we just give it to the police lah.” Rafizi is also deputy president to Datuk Seri Anwar in Parti Keadilan Rakyat, a component party of Pakatan Harapan. He also addressed a handful of other more serious issues at the press conference, and the case doesn’t appear to be leading to any serious arrests.
Sepang District Police Chief Assistant Commissioner Wan Kamarul Azran Wan Yusof said in a statement that an officer working in the inquiry office of a Ministry had filed a police report regarding the parcel after receiving a tip from a delivery service. According to the chief, on March 10 at approximately 6:30 p.m., two police officers and the informant went to a delivery center in Sepang where the parcel was confiscated.
The case is ongoing as the product is prohibited under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, which bans the possession of raw opium, coca leaves, poppy straw, and cannabis.
Jokes aren’t really funny though for a country that is known for imposing capital punishment for drug-related crimes. Up until less than a year ago, Malaysia routinely sentenced drug sellers to death, even if it’s cannabis for medical purposes.
Fortunately Malaysia’s cabinet agreed on June 10, 2022 to end mandatory death penalty sentences for 12 different kinds of crimes including those involving nonviolent drug offenses. The move comes four years after the government imposed a stay on executions. The reason this is so significant is that most people on death row in Malaysia have been convicted on narcotics charges.
Human Rights advocates in the region are cautiously optimistic. However, Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said at the time that there should be no celebrating until the changes are codified in legislation.
According to information provided by the government as of February of this year, 1,341 people were on the Malaysian death row—and 905 of those people were convicted of “drug trafficking.”
On August 30, 2016, a judge in Malaysia sentenced Muhammad Lukman Bin Mohamad to death after the judge found Lukman guilty of breaking the country’s notoriously strict anti-cannabis laws.
According to local news sources in Malaysia, Lukman was arrested when authorities discovered just over three liters of cannabis oil. Additionally, he was found in possession of 279 grams of compressed cannabis. Specifically, he was found guilty of breaking Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952.