Recently the National AntiDrugs Agency (AADK) has identified three areas in Sarawak that are considered ‘high-risk’ in terms of drug abuse and these include Kampung Tabuan Melayu and Matang in Kuching and Bekenu. According to AADK, the statistics of those who are involved in drug-related activities in these three areas are relatively high.
As such, we need integrated efforts and programmes that should be carried out in these areas so that the drug abuse issues could be addressed and the awareness of the dangers of drugs could be instilled among our community members.
Yesterday I chaired the state-level Anti Drug Action Council meeting held at Baitul Makmur Building and as the Chairman of the Drugs Prevention Association of Malaysia (Pemadam) Sarawak, I have informed our media friends that the ‘high-risk’ identification of these three areas did not mean that other areas in Sarawak which were drug-free.
During the press conference held after the meeting I have mentioned that if we look at the drug issues in Sarawak, they are not limited to the urban areas as based on the feedback received from AADK and the police, they show that drug abuse has spread up into the interiors of every district and affected various racial communities in the state.
It was also agreed that a ‘Pusat Pemulihan Akhlak’ (PPA) would be set up in Sarawak in view of the increase in the number of drug offenders under the Special Preventive Measures Act. Presently Sarawak does not have a PPA and there are only four rehabilitation centres in Malaysia with one each in Simpang Rengam and Muar, both in Johor, Machang in Kelantan and Batu Gajah in Perak.
We want Sarawak to have this centre so that those who arrested for drug offences in the state could be placed here, instead of them being sent to Peninsular Malaysia. I have also expressed hope for the Federal government would consider the proposal of establish a PPA in Sarawak. The fight against drugs requires a more comprehensive enforcement, clearer legal aspects as well as a more efficient security management.
We need to tackle the issue of drug abuse together because this problem cannot be managed overnight and it requires continuous effort from all the relevant agencies, as well as from the community.