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KUCHING, Nov 28: The news that Sarawak may bar the entry of individuals with drug-related criminal records into the state has received mixed reactions from netizens who shared their different views over social media.
The proposal to ban those convicted under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 is aimed at combating drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
However, the biggest questions posed were whether a second chance should be given to those who had repented and whether the ban could really stop illicit trafficking.
Some West Malaysian commentators questioned the immigration rights of Sarawak for banning individuals and asked whether the state would also ban Sarawak drug convicts from leaving the state too.
Others agreed with the proposal and suggested to ban other criminals as well such as pedophiles.
Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah had reportedly said that the proposed ban needed to be discussed by the state Cabinet and endorsed by Putrajaya first before it takes effect.
However, she said no time frame has been set to introduce the ban and the police and Immigration Department would need time to update their records before it takes effect.
The ban on those with criminal records was one of the suggestions proposed during a recent roundtable meeting between her ministry and various agencies in Limbang.
The meeting also suggested empowering the state Health Department and Chemistry Department and their facilities to test all urine samples collected in Sarawak without having to send it to Kuala Lumpur to expedite the process on drug-related cases.
An Intoxicating Substance Act, covering all products and substance that has the same effect as drugs, such as glue, paint, gasoline and lacquer thinner, was also mooted.
Other suggestions include monitoring foreign and local students with previous drug-related records and channels to report drug users and activities anonymously in order combat the distribution of drugs.
Fatimah also said that the state is currently studying the prospect of introducing a system that would empower the community to report drug users and activities anonymously.
In the first nine months of the year, it was reported that six drug syndicates have been foiled by the police in the state and 401 people were arrested for drug trafficking and 1,352 for drug possession.
The Ministry of Education had identified 402 schools nationwide as hotspots for disciplinary and drug problems, which also included 10 schools in Sarawak. — Dayak Daily