Consistent trend of drug-related criminal cases involving Sarawak youths during pandemic

Abdul Karim (front, seated centre) poses for a group photo with other participants during the joint meeting.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, April 8: The number of criminal cases involving illegal drugs among Sarawak youths has been increasing despite the Covid-19 pandemic and implementation of various movement control orders.

Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said a report from the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) revealed there were no signs of a drop in such cases while the number of theft cases among the youth recorded improvements.

“We can see that following the Covid-19 pandemic, theft cases, maybe because of the lockdown, have decreased but one problem that we observed was the number of criminal cases involving drugs.

“It has always been increasing, whether or not during a pandemic, and this is the thing that is worrying us,” he said during a press conference after a joint meeting between personnel from his ministry and several relevant departments at a local hotel here today.

Meanwhile, he pointed out that the rate of unemployment among the youths increased to 4.8 per cent in December 2020, according to the data supplied by the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

Another study by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sarawak, he added, found one out of every six Malaysian youths to be unemployed after the Covid-19 crisis.

“And this will then cause psychological, economical and even social stresses.

“A study by UiTM has shown that early-age youth between ages 19 to 29 are more prone to anxiety and depression than the middle-age youth between ages 30 to 43,” he said.

With that, Abdul Karim said, his ministry has decided to establish a Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYSS) Centre, with the first in Kuching Civic Centre. This will be replicated later in other civic centres throughout Sarawak.

He said the centre would serve as a meeting and information centre for Sarawak youths, equipped with different facilities such as WiFi, discussion rooms and leisure areas that are conducive and safe. — DayakDaily