KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 17 – There is a need for a special module be created under the National Service Training Programme (PLKN) to produce anti-drug icons among the youths, said former Malaysia Prisons director-general Tan Sri Mohd Zaman Khan Rahim Khan.
His suggestion came in line with the declaration of an ‘All-Out War Against Drugs’ by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Home Minister, at a National Anti-Drugs Day event in Sarawak in February. Zaman Khan said the module should be aimed at building leadership among youths in spreading the message to the public on the dangers of drug abuse.
“Youths form the biggest number of drug addicts or users. Therefore, by also giving the LPKN trainees anti-drugs training, they can become peer counsellors in overcoming the menace. Besides exposing the trainees to information on drugs, the module should also cover effective public speaking and counselling. This way, I believe the anti-drugs message can be delivered more effectively,” he said when met by Bernama recently.
Zaman Khan said the government could also use the services of former drug addicts to spread the anti-drugs message to the public. Meanwhile, he also added that public could tell about how their life had been when they were involved in drugs so as to deter others.
The former prisons chief also suggested that the government immediately place the use of ketum leaves under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow for stiffer penalties. He said currently, ketum abuse came under Section 30(3) of the Poisons Act 1952, which provides for a fine of up to RM10,000 or a jail term of up to four years, or both. However, in most cases, the offenders had only been fined, he added.
Zaman Khan said they don’t want the government to be blamed if the ketum abuse remains rampant among our youths. He cited neighbouring country, Thailand, as having taken a holistic approach in tackling the problem by putting up banners around the country informing the public on the dangers of taking ketum drink. — Bernama