KOTA KINABALU: In view of the worrying drug abuse trend in Sabah, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor has approved funds totaling RM746,000 and land for a new rehabilitation centre (Puspen).
Chairing the Sabah Drugs Eradication Action Council (MTMD) first meeting for 2021 at the State Administrative Centre near here on Thursday, Hajiji said firm action was imperative to address the drug abuse menace and social deviance cases in Sabah.
The National Anti-Drug Agency (NADA) was given RM500,000 to carry out an integrated initiative programme to address drug addiction and social ills in high risk areas as well as a 30-acre land to build a new rehabilitation centre in Tawau.
Currently, Sabah has one Puspen located in Papar, which can accommodate up to 300 clients at one time.
While Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) was given RM246,000 to continue with its happy family programme as a holistic approach to address the problem of drug addiction and social deviance.
Earlier, in his welcoming address, Hajiji said the MTMD has identified 12 high risk drug areas in the state.
The areas were Likas, Inanam and Penampang in Kota Kinabalu, Luagan, Patikang and Tuarid Taud in Keningau, Tanjung Batu, Merotai, Balung in Tawau and three zones in Labuan which falls under the purview of Sabah Nada.
Hajiji disclosed this year more attention will be given to the high risk areas of Likas and Inanam as well as Luagan.
“Various activities and programmes will be implemented to reduce drug abuse in these three areas and turned them into green areas,” he said.
In this respect, Hajiji urged all District Officers who are also MTMD chairman at the district level to take immediate action to reduce the problem of drug abuse particularly in high risk areas so that the issue of drug addiction and social decadence is manageable.
He commended all department heads for their commitment in handling drug and substance abuse as well as social deviance.
“I want to see heightened efforts this year to tackle the menace,” he said at the high-level committee meeting comprising Minister of Community Development and People’s Wellbeing, Ir Shahelmy Yahya, Youth and Sports *Assistant* Minister Andi Muhammad Suryady Bandy, State Secretary Datuk Seri Ir Safar Untong, State Federal Secretary Datuk Dr Zulkapli Mohamed as well as state and federal departmental heads.
Also on hand were Sabah Commissioner of Police, Datuk Hazani Ghazali, Nada Deputy Director General (Administration) Chan Hong Jin and Sabah Nada Director, Abdul Hamediee Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, Hazani told the council that Sabah is a transit point for drugs especially Syabu and only 30 per cent of the supply smuggled into the state will go into the local market.
He said the number of drug-related arrests had gone up over the years except for 2020 due to the pandemic lockdown, but he expected it would go up again this year as the Movement Control Order (MCO) is relaxed.