SIBU, March 10: Kanowit aims to become a drug-free district by 2024, says Deputy Minister of Community Welfare Development Mohamad Razi Sitam.
Speaking at the Kanowit District Drug-free Action Plan Implementation Workshop today, he said in order to achieve it, the commitment and readiness of the members of the One-Stop Committee (OSC) on Addressing Drug and Substance Abuse (MIDS) must be there now.
The workshop was organised by the State OSC MIDS through the Social Development Council in collaboration with the Kanowit District OSC MIDS.
“This means by the end of 2023 drug abuse activities in Kanowit district will be controlled to a minimum. Individuals involved in substance abuse in Kanowit district can also be fully detected and have access to the necessary treatment and rehabilitation,” he said.
At the same time, he added, the stigma within the Kanowit community toward treatment and rehabilitation of substance abuse could be diluted when family or individuals voluntarily come forward for recovery.
Touching on individuals arrested for drug abuse in Kanowit district, the Saribas assemblyman said there were 23 arrests made for the whole of last year.
“This year, for January 2022, a total of six arrests were made in Kanowit district. This is only at the beginning of the year and this figure is a bit unsatisfactory as the district is in rural areas,” he lamented.
In line with this, Mohamad Razi said the workshop is very appropriate to mobilise collective action to address social issues in Sarawak, in particular the issue of drug abuse and substance abuse in Kanowit District.
As for the whole State during the same period, he said a total of 7,269 arrests involving drug and substance abuse activities were made.
“Kuching district recorded the highest number of arrests with 1,859 people, followed by Miri (640 people), Sibu (613 people), Bintulu (589 people) and Samarahan (489 people),” he said.
Mohamad Razi called for the collective effort of the community in the war against drugs.
“This drug problem is a problem for us all and we cannot blame the government solely for it. Some have politicised this drug issue by blaming the government for failing to act.
“The government needs us all to play a role in combating this drug issue. If we all work together and play our respective roles by participating in the drug eradication programme, maybe we can at least reduce the crime rate and drug addicts in the State,” he said.
Among those present were Executive Secretary of the Social Development Division Dr Zufar Yadi Brendan Abdullah and Kanowit District Administrative Officer Casseylia Benet representing the Kanowit District Officer. — DayakDaily