Monday, April 21, 2008


More drastic actions needed to fight drug menace: SAPP


The Government must address the social and economic impact of illicit drug abuse on our society by allocating much more resources in clamping down on the drug trade and tackling crimes in Sabah, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee. He stressed this in a statement issued here yesterday, in response to the recent kidnapping of a female Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student from the Kingfisher Park in Likas near here. “It is of great concern that the two suspects in the kidnapping incident were under the influence of illicit drug. I am truly concerned because the incidence of drug abuse in Sabah has been on an upward trend. “This means that drug-related crimes will become more frequent unless drastic action is taken as soon as possible. Drastic actions are needed to fight the illicit drug menace before more innocent people become victims of such crimes,” he stressed. He pointed out that the State police force is in need of more manpower, funds, high-tech equipment and vehicles to do a proper and better job. He said he was made to understand that Kota Kinabalu City alone needs an additional 1,000 policemen and the Customs and Excise Department too is currently desperately short of enforcement personnel to cover the many districts and landing points. “Even with the back-up of RELA (People’s Volunteer Corp), our law enforcement agencies are still short of manpower. The public is obviously worried whether there are more copy-cat criminals lurking out there to strike at innocent passersby. A parent of another UMS student has repeatedly expressed concern to me whether the UMS and Taman KingFisher areas are safe,” he said. Yong added that to be effective and to gain public confidence, the Police, Customs Department and other law enforcement agencies must also root out any bad apples in their midst. “Towards this aim, it is also best not to be distracted by talk of ‘Hong Kong movies’ but to focus on eliminating drug abuse as a cause of crimes. For example, to what extent are violent crimes committed by drug addicts who rob to pay for their drugs? How many crimes have been committed by persons who were high on drugs and therefore more daring in their acts to kill, rob or rape? “What is the performance record of the law enforcement agencies such as the Police, Customs Department and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in curbing smuggling of illicit drugs, particularly syabu, into Sabah? How is it that we rarely hear of drug busts in the entry points such as airports and seaports?” he asked. Yong believed that the authorities are aware that cheap syabu is manufactured in Taiwan and the Philippines and then smuggled into Sabah via the Southern Philippines. “So how come we never heard of drug busts at the Sandakan port with incoming ferries from the Philippines? Or are the illicit drugs smuggled into Sabah by illegal immigrants using covert landing points along our coast?” he questioned. He believed that illicit drug trafficking has always been associated with illegal immigrants. “Illegal cigarette vendors, like street kids, have long been suspected as couriers of syabu. “The time is long overdue for the authorities to clamp down hard on this drug trade which is a serious cause of violent crimes. We must not underestimate the scale of illicit drug trafficking,” he underscored. He cited for instance, the arrest of a brother of a recently promoted Federal Minister for drug trafficking a year ago could mean that the illicit drug trade is no longer confirmed to low rung couriers but has become lucrative enough to attract businessmen.