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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Jan 17: Starting this year, the Narcotics Crime and Investigation Department (NCID) is using a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with drug problems involving school students in Sarawak.
State NCID chief Supt Sahar Abdul Latif said the SOP was the product of a collaboration between his department and the Education Ministry to nip this social scourge in the bud.
“We (police) treat the students as victims in this case, where the dealers are the main culprits. The students are not entirely at fault.
“With this SOP, we can carry out a gentle approach and reach out to school students who are victims of drug abuse and at the same time catch the dealers,” he told a press conference at the state police headquarters here this morning.
Sahar gave assurance that the police would protect and support the affected students, who are victims of drug abuse and will not put them behind bars.
As for parents who suspect that their schooling children may be involved in drugs, he urged them to alert the NCID.
“I assure that we will adopt a soft approach toward the affected students. They will not be cuffed. All we want to do is catch the culprits (drug dealers) who are destroying the students’ lives,” he reiterated.
Sahar added that NCID had no hard figures of school students involved in drug abuse as this was considered a classified and sensitive matter by the government. But he gave assurance that the police and Education Ministry were working very closely to curb this issue.
Last year, NCID apprehended 46 suspected drug suppliers/manufacturers in the state. Their targeted KPI for last year was 40.
He hoped his department would be able to achieve twice that number this year, catching as many dealers as possible and making sure the younger generations are free from drug abuse.
In 2018, state police confiscated drugs valued at about RM7.6 million. The main substance being abused in the state is syabu, while marijuana has been gaining in popularity since the last two years. Also confiscated during the drug operations were about RM2.5 million worth of assets.
A total of 537 individuals were arrested for being involved in drug dealing last year, while 1,628 were nabbed for substance abuse.
On a related matter, Sahar cautioned that those who had let their bank accounts be used for drug transactions could be charged under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 even though they may not be physically involved in the activity. Section 39B provides for a mandatory death sentence upon conviction. — DayakDaily