"Send My Regards To Syed Saddiq" – Says Singer Facing Charges For Trafficking Cannabis
Singer and composer Yasin Sulaiman faces a possible death penalty after he was charged with trafficking cannabis
According to The Star, the 47-year-old behind the 2001 hit song Mimpi Laila was charged under Section 39B and Section 6B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 at the Petaling Jaya Magistrate's Court and Sessions Court, respectively, yesterday, 31 March.
The provisions deal with trafficking dangerous drugs and the cultivation of certain plants that are not permitted, respectively.
The first charge is punishable by either the death penalty or life imprisonment and up to 15 strokes of the cane upon conviction, while the second charge will land the suspect in life imprisonment and at least six strokes of the cane.
The 2001 Anugerah Juara Lagu award winner was arrested for cultivating ganja plants in his home in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya on 24 March.
No plea was taken from the singer for both charges. The case in the Magistrate's Court will be transferred to the High Court as the sentence involves the death penalty, reported Free Malaysia Today.
No bail was allowed for both charges and the courts have set 18 May for remention. Yasin has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was receiving treatment.
Earlier when Yasin was escorted in the court complex, he told reporters, "Send my regards to Syed Saddiq"
It is unsure why Yasin made the comment, but it is likely due to Muar member of parliament (MP) Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman's involvement in lobbying against the death penalty and criminalisation of marijuana for medical use.
When debating the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) in parliament on 29 September last year, Syed Saddiq urged the government to legalise the medical use of marijuana and hemp, reported Malay Mail.
In a written parliamentary reply to the Muar MP two months later, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said cannabis products used for medicinal purposes are allowed in Malaysia as long as they receive approval from local regulators.
Khairy's response is similar to former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye's statement under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, who also said that the government did not ban cannabis-based products for medical purposes once prior approval is obtained.
Following Yasin's call to Syed Saddiq, the former youth and sports minister responded to him in a Facebook post
Although he would not comment on the singer's case, he reiterated his stance on legalising marijuana for medical purposes has been consistent throughout the years, regardless of whether he is inside or outside the government.
"These decisions and calls were made (during the PH administration) because we followed facts, data, and science. Not because of 'trends' or people's talk. It can be a source of alternative treatment for many patients," he wrote in a statement on Thursday.
"More than 40 countries have already allowed the use of cannabis for medicine. The market value of this industry reaches RM60 billion."
He said he will continue fighting in the cause, as it is his responsibility to introduce the industry to Malaysia.
Yasin told reporters after the proceedings yesterday that he has been receiving treatment for bipolar disorder since 2009
Once, he said, he was admitted to Chancellor Tuanku Muhriz UKM Hospital in Kuala Lumpur due to his condition, reported Malaysiakini.
In court, he pleaded to be released on bail because he feared detention could exacerbate his chronic bipolar disorder.
"I have been prescribed medication but I fear my wellbeing will be affected at any time," he said.
"I fear losing my mind, like what happened three years ago."
Yasin's lawyer said his client has not been able to access treatment since being under remand.
On 8 November last year, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said local laws do not prohibit the medical use of cannabis in Malaysia: