KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 21 – The Malaysian Dental Association (MDA) has joined other medical practitioners in criticising the Poisons amendment Bill that significantly increases penalties for medicine-related offences.
MDA president Dr Lim Chiew Wooi said the proposed amendment to the Poisons Act 1952, which was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last week on March 14, should not be passed as unrestrained powers may lead to abuses and corruption.
“Historically, harsh penalties and unsupervised power have never really solved problems but will give rise to more problems.
“As a nation aspiring to be developed and therefore mature, we should focus more on education, training, persuasion and good examples rather than increasing penalties,” Dr Lim said in a statement issued on Friday.
The new Poisons amendment Bill under Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin substantially enhances the powers of pharmacy enforcement officers in the public sector that investigate private general practitioner (GP) clinics, vet clinics, dental clinics, and community pharmacies for any medicine-related offences under the Poisons Act.
Appointed drug enforcement officers can search any premises and seize any drug, machinery, equipment, register, document, or computerised data by force if there is “reasonable” cause to suspect that an offence is being committed.
“We urge the authorities to review the bill with all stakeholders before tabling something that we will all regret and is backpedalling from a developed nation with mature citizens,” said Dr Lim.
Other medical professional groups who have spoken against the Poisons amendment Bill include the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), the Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM), and the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations, Malaysia (FPMPAM).