11,442 arrests for drug and substance abuse last year

KUCHING: For the whole of last year, Sarawak recorded 11,442 arrests related to drug and substance abuse activities, revealed Assistant Minister of Community Wellbeing Datuk Francis Harden Hollis.

He said these arrests resulted from 6,892 operations carried out by the Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (NCID) of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) Sarawak, Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM), and National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) Sarawak.

“Of the total, Kuching District recorded the highest number of arrests at 3,679 (32.15 percent), followed by Miri District with 1,198 arrests (10.47 percent), Bintulu District (1,060 arrests, 9.26 percent), Sibu District (922 arrests, 8.06 percent), and Samarahan District (606 arrests, 5.3 percent),” he said.

He said 10,628 (92.89 percent) of the total arrests were male while 814 (7.11 percent) were female.

In terms of age, he said there were 611 arrests (5.34 percent) aged 18 and below; 2,980 (26.04 percent) aged 19 to 24; 2,693 (23.54 percent) aged 25 to 29; 2,000 (17.48 percent) aged 30 to 34; 1,860 (16.26 percent) aged 35 to 40; and 1,298 (11.34 percent) aged 41 and above.

In terms of ethnicity, he said 4,233 arrests (37 percent) were Malays; 2,494 (21.8 percent) Chinese; 1,766 (15.43 percent) Ibans; 1,251 (10.93 percent) Bidayuhs; 491 (4.29 percent) Melanaus; 13 (0.113 percent) Kedayans; 12 (0.105 percent) Barawans and 12 (0.105 percent) Indians.

“These 6,892 enforcement operations throughout last year in Sarawak were able to restrict 589,924 times of illicit drug and substance abuse and saved 147,480 individuals in the one-year period,” he said on Wednesday (Jan 13) when presenting the One Stop Committee’s (OSC) monthly report on addressing drug and substance abuse (MIDS) for the month of December.

Francis said throughout last year, 945 prisoners in Sarawak were jailed for various offences related to drug and substance abuse, a decrease of 25.94 percent compared to 2019 (1,276 people).

“At the Henry Gurney School, 21 residents in Sarawak were jailed for various offences related to drug and substance abuse throughout last year. This total is a decrease of 16 percent compared to 2019 (25 people),” he said.

As for December’s statistics, he said Sarawak recorded 538 cases involving 542 arrests in relation to drug and substance abuse activities as a result of 529 operations carried out by the relevant agencies.

“This number is 4.74 percent of the total arrests recorded since January (last year), which is 11,442,” he said.

Of these, he said 21 cases involving 28 arrests were on the offence of supplying and distributing drugs and substances, while 67 cases involving 79 arrests were on the offence of possession of drugs and substances.

“For the offence of positive urine drug test under Section 15(1)(a), Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, 408 cases involving 393 arrests were recorded in December last year,” he said.

Francis said under the Drug Dependants (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 (Amendment 1998), Sarawak recorded 42 cases involving 42 arrests as a result of 28 operations conducted by AADK Sarawak.

“Based on the number of arrests for positive urine, our challenge is to increase their treatment and rehabilitation intervention in institutions through court orders or voluntarily in the community so that those involved in substance abuse can maintain recovery and social functioning within society,” he said.

With regard to drug and substance abuse among secondary school students, he said 141 students had tested positive for drugs via urine tests for the period of January to December last year. 

Of this total, he said 10 individuals (7.09 percent) had succeeded in maintaining recovery from drug abuse as their urine tested negative in follow-up tests while they were undergoing treatment, rehabilitation and counselling in school.