Tuesday, 13 April 2021

We need in­te­grated ef­forts and pro­grammes so that Sarawak's dru­g abuse is­sues could be ad­dressed

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.

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