Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 00:01:55 +0800
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
From: E Phillip Lim <alsona@PACIFIC.NET.SG>
Subject: Fwd: MY: 400,000 workers lost to drug abuse: KL
400,000 workers lost to drug abuse
By The New Straits Times,
30 August 1999
PADANG BESAR (Perlis) -- Drug addiction has taken
some 400,000 men and women, aged between 20 and
40, out of Malaysia's work force and this is
alarming the government.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid said on
Saturday that the drug menace had deprived the
country of a large pool of able-bodied men and
There are another 100,000 addicts in the country
who are not in the working-age group, he said.
This means 80 per cent, or four out of every five
addicts, are of working age.
Datuk Azmi said the government had taken several
measures to tackle the problem, like setting up an
anti-drug committee at the workplace.
"The committee hopes to come out with a more
concrete plan to tackle the drug menace, as the
number of addicts is growing despite our best
efforts to stop it," he said at the Serenti drug-
rehabilitation centre in Bukit Cabang.
He said the National Drug Prevention Committee at
the Workplace, which he chaired, held its first
meeting last month and was drafting a more
proactive approach towards tackling the problem.
He added that the new approach could involve
possible amendments to existing laws.
Datuk Azmi said the government had also told
companies with more than 40 workers to set up
their own anti-drug committees.
He said the negative social impact of drug abuse
was even more worrying as the statistics also
indicated that the majority of addicts were in the
Datuk Azmi said the government was also
considering giving more power to members of
voluntary organisations, such as the Police
Reserve Unit, Rukun Tetangga, Territorial Army and
Village Security and Development Committee to
fight the menace.
In July, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi said that the government would double
the number of drug-rehabilitation centres to house
Former centres of the General Operations Force,
previously known as the Police Field Force, would
be converted into rehabilitation premises and new
facilities would also be built, he added.
According to officials, out of every 10 people
detained by the police and confirmed as drug
addicts, only five go to a rehabilitation centre.
The rest are released because of insufficient
places at the centres.
--New Straits Times
Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All