by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye
In conjunction with National Anti Dadah Day TODAY (Hari Anti Dadah Kebangsaan) the Alliance for Safe Community wishes to state that the war against drugs in Malaysia is far from over and needs to be intensified from all fronts.
Judging from the frequent successful operations mounted by the Anti-Narcotics Department of the Royal Malaysian Police as well as the Custom Department it is pretty obvious that the drug problem in Malaysia is alarming.
What has been exposed so far may only be a tip of the ice-berg.
Our failure to win the war against drugs is a timely reminder that we must rethink and review all the measures taken so far to address this major social problem in the country with serious safety and security implications.
Our efforts to eradicate drugs were unsuccessful despite setting the target to make Malaysia free from illegal drugs in 2015 and having spent hundreds of millions of Ringgit so far to tackle the social menace.
Although we have successfully won the war against communist insurgents, it seems that we are facing an uphill battle to free Malaysia from drug menace.
Unlike the use of traditional drugs such as heroin and morphine in the past, the authorities now must also pay special attention to curbing the abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS)-type drugs, also known as designer or synthetic drugs.
ATS are stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine, ecstasy and syabu which are widely used at night clubs and entertainment centres to provide a ‘high’ for users.
The very fact that more and more new synthetic drugs have been introduced shows that drug manufacturers and syndicates are becoming more innovative and creative to attract as many new users as they could.
There is a need to review the effectiveness of the current approaches and strategies in combating the problem.
We must also study why the death sentence for those convicted of drug trafficking under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 fails to deter drug trafficking activities.
We need a more intensified and concerted effort in combating drugs since many young people including school students are affected. Drug pushers easily tempt the young by giving them sweets laced with drugs while designer drugs are also easily available.
Since synthetic drugs can now be produced by just learning it on the Internet, they must be addressed through close collaboration of various government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and experts who have skills in related fields. We must utilise all available resources at our disposal and be a step ahead of them.
We fully support the Home Ministry’s National Drugs Policy, which has five major thrusts namely prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, enforcement, international cooperation and mitigation. However a policy will remain a policy and its success depends strictly on its implementation on the ground with the participation of all segments of society.
We also need to have sustained and high impact campaigns and not seasonable ones to fight drug abuse.
“Anti-dadah” campaigns should be carried out at the national, state and district levels involving all government agencies, NGOs, employers, employees, schools and parents to ensure that the message reaches the target and able to instill awareness among Malaysians, especially the youths on the consequences of drug abuse.
We should leave no stone unturned in finding ways to improve the laws and enforcement activities in the battle against drugs. We also need to stamp out CORRUPTION which is a major obstacle in our war against drugs.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
ALLIANCE FOR SAFE COMMUNITY