RM5.3 mln to address drug and substance issues

Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: The state government has set aside RM5.38 million to enhance the effectiveness of the One-Stop Committee (OSC) to address drug and substance issues (MIDS) Action Plan in Sarawak.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development (KWKPK) Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, in announcing this, said the allocation was approved by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who is also the State Security Council chairman.

Fatimah said a portion of the funds would be used to acquire tactical equipment and instruments based on artificial intelligence (AI) technology such as narcotics scanners to be placed at major airport cargo centres in Sarawak.

“Apart from that, the allocation will also be used to install drug detectors, drug abuse detectors and train new drug-tracking dogs.

“We are also looking to enhance the function of the Magistrate in the District and Divisional Administration in the state to augment the enforcement and prosecution of drug abuse activities in addition to establishing a Narcotics Intelligence Technical Working Committee under OSC MIDS,” she said.

Fatimah was speaking at a press conference held at her office at Baitulmakmur 2 in Petra Jaya here on Tuesday (Aug 24).

To improve access to addiction treatment and drug and substance abuse rehabilitation in Sarawak this year, Fatimah said OSC MIDS planned to expand the One-Stop Centre for Addiction (OSCA) services at seven health clinics in high-risk districts located throughout the state.

“The seven health clinics are in Lawas, Limbang, Subis, Betong, Bau, Bintulu and Sibu. The operating equipment and facilities of these seven new OSCAs will also be funded by the allocation,” she explained.

Fatrimah added the committee was also planning to establish  Community Development and Intervention Centres (CDICs) which served as community caring houses in Kuching, Bau, Miri, Sibu, Bintulu, Mukah and Subis.

“At the CDICs, substance-stricken communities can meet with District MIDS OSC members, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), MIDS Bureau Penghulu and volunteers to undergo treatment and rehabilitation intervention in an integrated and continuous manner to induce recovery and address their recovery capital,” she added.