By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 25: Kuching recorded the highest number of drug related offenses and arrests with 1,499 out of 3,997 cases reported in Sarawak in the first quarter of this year.
Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said disclosed that the data gathered by police, National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK), Health Ministry and private drug rehabilitation centres showed that Kuching recorded the highest number of cases involving 1,499 individuals or 37.5 per cent of the total cases.
“Miri division recorded 485 persons or 12.1 per cent; Samarahan (457 persons or 11.4 per cent), and Kapit (59 persons or 1.5 per cent),” he told the Dewan Rakyat in responding to Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong (Hulu Rajang-GPS) today.
Ismail emphasised that his ministry was well aware that there were many “lorong-lorong tikus” (illegal routes) along the border areas with neighbouring countries.
“We are working closely with the Armed Forces to monitor our borders and we will certainly step up enforcement in terms of operations and arrests.
“We also need the cooperation between agencies under the Ministry including Rela (People’s Volunteer Corps) as well as Immigration Department, AADK, community leaders and association leaders to become the eyes and ears of the government to channel information so that we can fight this drug problem in our country,” he added.
Ugak informed the House that there was a major arrest made in Kapit on July 28 and as such, pointed out the possibility of drugs making their way into Sarawak’s hinterland due to lack of control posts across the vast borders along Sarawak.
“There are nine border control posts only in Sarawak compared to our neighbour in Kalimantan which has 59 posts.
“So I think that’s how the drugs could get in. The drugs could easily enter into the interior areas. As such, actions and efforts are needed to curb the drug problem in rural areas such as Kapit, Baram, Kanowit and other areas in Sarawak. It is sad and unfortunate that our people ended up becoming the victims,” he added. — DayakDaily