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Message-ID: <>
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 women.

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 lower-income group.

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 all addicts.

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 rights reserved.

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