Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Take drug problem in Lawas seriously, Baru tells police

November 8, 2016, Tuesday Samuel Aubrey, reporters@theborneopost.com

KUCHING: Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian has called on the police to be serious about the drug problem in Lawas following the recent arrest of a secondary school teacher suspected to be a Syabu drug pusher and an accomplice.

Baru believed the arrest was only the tip of the iceberg and what was more worrying was that it raised the question of whether the teacher was selling the drug to students.

He referred to two articles written by The Borneo Post Adventure Team (BAT) – ‘Drugs Ruin Lawas reputation as northern gateway’ on June 30 and ‘Drugs abuse rampant but no flesh trade’ on July 2, which quoted a source as saying that Syabu could be bought at the vegetable market for RM50 per straw and the drug pushers asked students to sell drugs to their schoolmates.

He said on his part, he had raised the problem numerous times, in and out of the State Assembly.

He recalled that in 2012, when he first said that drugs were easily available at the vegetable market, the police denied it and asked him to produce the evidence.

Despite so, he pointed out, the people of Lawas were fully aware of the extent of the problem and had been so concerned about it that they organised their own Anti-Dadah Day in 2014.

“The police must be serious about this issue because the information I have received so far is extremely disturbing. Syabu is freely sold in the villages and as such no one is immune or protected against this social evil. Drug abuse has led to other social problems such as petty crime and illegal gambling.

“The police must step up their efforts to combat this problem. I call upon the Commissioner of Police to send a special team to Lawas to talk to the people and investigate fully what is happening in the town and villages.

“Special operations need to be carried out regularly to root out the drug dealers. The police should consider getting a few drug sniffer dogs. That would be an effective way of detecting drug dealers and addicts. At the same time, border control must be stepped up to stem the tide of drugs flowing in from Sabah,” he said.

He added all schools should give priority to drug awareness programmes so that school children know how much devastation drug abuse can cause.

“Most importantly, the police must find out whether other teachers are involved in drug trafficking and if so, take swift action against them,” he stressed.

“This menace must be eradicated otherwise a large proportion of the younger generation in Lawas may never realise their potential to be useful members of society, and be lost to their families for good.”

Baru, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak chairman, said he had asked for the statistics of the enforcement agencies’ successes in Lawas during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting in June this year.

He said the answer which he received around two weeks ago was that the drug problem was not serious and under control (in Bahasa Malaysia: ‘ancaman dadah di Lawas tidak serius dan masih terkawal’).

“This statement contradicts what the (Borneo Post Adventure Team) reporters found out when talking to the locals. It appears that there is a disconnect between the police and the people. There is something very wrong here if the residents are more worried than the police about drug abuse and trafficking.

“What the source said to the reporter gives us food for thought – he said that the higher authorities should only allow the police personnel in Lawas to be stationed there for not more than two years to be effective,” said Baru.

Last Saturday, the police in Lawas arrested a 33-year-old secondary school teacher suspected to be a Syabu drug pusher together with a 36-year-old male accomplice inside a car at Merapok road.

A packet of Syabu weighing 27.7 grams estimated to be worth RM4,000 was found inside the armrest of the vehicle. Both suspects also tested positive for ampethamine.

Lawas police chief DSP Abang Zainal Abidin Abang Ahmad was quoted as saying by Bernama that based on their investigation, the drugs were not sold to students of the secondary school where the teacher was teaching.

Abang Zainal also said the drugs were meant to be sold across the border in Indonesia, and the police had tracked and monitored the operations for about four months.

~ Borneo Post

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