Malaysia should emulate Singapore and review the mandatory death sentence for drug offences, said Paul Low.
The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said that the statistics showed that the death sentence did not deter drug mules as the kingpins got away.
"When policies are not working, they should be changed, " he said during the keynote address of the Asian Regional Congress on the Death Penalty on Thursday.
But Low said the drug penalty still had its place but only for the most serious crimes and where there was no reasonable doubt the suspect was guilty.
Under laws recently amended in Singapore, three Malaysians - Yong Vui Kong, Cheon Chun Yin and Pang Siew Fum - had their death sentences for drug trafficking commuted to life imprisonment.
In 2012, the attorney general proposed an amendment to the drug laws to give judges the discretion not to impose the death sentence on drug mules.
An estimated 1,000 people are said to be on death row in Malaysia, almost half of whom have been convicted for drug offences.
Malaysia is one of 13 countries that imposes mandatory death penalty for drug-related offences.