Deploy sniffer dogs at entry points

Photo for illustration purpose

KUCHING: Sarawak’s dog unit must be beefed up to enable sniffer dogs be placed at all entry points in order to effectively sniff out drugs.

Drug Prevention Association of Malaysia (Pemadam) Sarawak chairman Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah stressed that the federal government needed to ensure that all entry points were properly controlled as many drugs entered the country or state through courier services.

“It is not easy; every day, thousands of parcels come into the country through so many sources and we cannot open each and every one of them. So how do we detect the drugs? If the parcels are screened, they will not show.

“That is why I always raise up that we need to beef up the dog unit. Whether it is under the canine police or customs, Sarawak has less than 10 dogs. But we have so many entry points such as the airports in Kuching, Bintulu, Miri, and Sibu, as well as the border and sea ports,” he said.

He said the state government was willing to provide these dogs, but pointed out that the upkeep and dog handlers would have to be under the agency in charge of them.

“Certainly, the cost of these dogs is a bit high because they have to be trained. Just to train a good sniffer dog would easily cost not less than RM70,000 and some can even go over RM100,000,” he said during a press conference here today.

Nevertheless, he stressed that this was the best way to effectively detect drugs aside from having informants who provide details to the enforcement agencies.

“That is why the dog unit is very important. If we do not address this issue, there will be a greater influx of drugs into the country,” he warned.

“If the allocation for dogs is not available, then we have to look into it,” said Abdul Karim, who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister.

At the same time, he said he did not place the blame on enforcement agencies, as they were working within their limits. He said enforcement was good but could be improved.

In addition, he hoped that those in charge of prosecution and the judiciary would not be negligent in matters pertaining to drug enforcement.

“It is so sickening when you hear of those caught with drugs getting acquitted. That reflects that the prosecution is bad – those doing the investigation are not doing their job properly.

“If you are caught with the drugs in your room or pocket, how can you be acquitted? Unless somebody did not do their job properly. Things like that can be so sickening and frustrating,” he lamented.