Australian PM declines to speculate on drug arrest in Malaysia
MELBOURNE, March 6 — Prime Minister Julia Gillard declined to speculate on the possible fate of a West Australian man who could face the death penalty after being arrested for drug possession in Malaysia.
Police in Kuala Lumpur arrested the 32-year-old man, of Perth, after allegedly catching him with 225 gm of methamphetamine last week. Under Malaysian law, a person convicted of possessing more than 50 gm of methamphetamine is declared a drug trafficker and faces a mandatory death sentence.
The man’s arrest comes just days after Indonesia arrested a 54-year-old Australian man for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into Bali. He, too, could face the death sentence. Gillard on Tuesday was asked what the government was doing to help the men. “In relation to both, we are providing consular services, and that’s the best support we can (give) as a nation at this stage,” she told reporters in Canberra.
“ It’s not in the interests of either of these men for me to be speculating about what will happen with their legal proceedings in either nation. The best thing we can do is provide them with consular services and we are.” Malaysia has executed three Australians for drug offences. Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers were hanged in July 1986 and Michael McAuliffe in June 1993.