KUALA LUMPUR: The National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) is asking local express and tour bus operators to tighten requirements for drivers by making sure they undergo urine tests before they are hired.
AADK Deputy Director-General (Operation) Datuk Izhar Abu Talib said the move was to address the number of bus drivers who had an addiction to drugs, which in turn, could impact the lives of their passengers.
“Bus operators need to view this seriously and ensure that the new drivers they employ should be “free of drugs”.
“Periodic checks should also be carried out and if they have been tested positive for drugs, they (drivers) should be terminated,” he told Bernama.
Izhar stressed that bus operators had to place the safety of their passengers as a priority over profits.
He pointed out that the number of bus drivers with drug-related problems was still under control, but the agency was not taking it easy and often worked with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and Road Safety Department (JKJR) to conduct awareness programmes.
He said that statistics from the Chinese New Year operations last month showed that 14 bus drivers had been tested positive for drugs compared to seven during the festivities last year.
Izhar said that methamphetamine drugs like syabu were often preferred because its users had increased energy levels, besides, the drugs were also available at affordable prices.
Among the factors that contributed to their reliance on drugs were the work environment, the influence of co-workers, work pressure and their previous drug addiction history, he added.
Izhar said that the Drug-free Workplace (Tekad) programme introduced in 2010 would be able to reduce the symptoms of drug addiction among employees through continuous preventive education programmes and by conducting periodic urine tests.
He added that such programmes could educate employees to be more sensitive to drug threats. – Bernama