Malaysia has some of the world’s most punitive drug policies, but the new government is reviewing the approach.
Malaysian authorities have seized nearly 3,700kg ketamine and cocaine worth about $161m in the country’s biggest drug haul to date.
Malaysia is a key transit point for illegal narcotics, with authorities seizing record amounts of crystal methamphetamine in the past year.
About 467kg ketamine stored in sacks were found at a shop in Puncak Alam, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, during a joint raid by customs and police on August 18, customs director general Paddy Abdul Halim told reporters on Friday.
The discovery was followed by the arrest and interrogation of suspects, who then led the team to another shop, where 3,200kg cocaine was found.
The ketamine was believed to have been shipped to Malaysia from Pakistan, while the cocaine originated from Ecuador, Paddy said.
“Initial investigations show that the suspected drugs were meant for export to a third country,” he said.
The drugs confiscated were estimated to be worth about $161.41m, he said.
Authorities arrested four Malaysians and nine foreigners during the operation.
Under Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act, anyone found with 200 grams of cannabis, 40 grams of cocaine, and 15 grams of heroin or morphine risks being charged with drug trafficking – a crime that carries the mandatory death penalty.
A proposal to abolish the death penalty for drug-related offences is currently on hold in parliament pending the outcome of an ongoing court case.