'Punish the parents for
drug abuse by children': Government passes the buck to parents?
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew
Admitting weakness in battling drug abuse, a
high-powered government committee suggested on Monday new laws that will
penalise parents who fail to keep their drug-addict children on a tight
leash (The Sun, 29 March 2005).
proposal was discussed at the maiden meeting of the Action Committee on Law
Enforcement, attended by senior officials from 13 ministries, including the
inspector-general of police (IGP) and the attorney-general (AG).
committee is one of three sub-committees (the others are education and
health) set up recently to complement the Cabinet Committee chaired by Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
we agree that parenting plays a big role in the war against drug abuse, the
Government must admit that it takes a much bigger role and responsibility
than parents. Punish the parents for drug abuse of children is like passing
the buck to the parents.
committee also revealed that five pieces of legislation relating to drug
abuses are set to be "fine-tuned" to make them more effective.
are the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, Poisons Act 1952, Drug Dependents
(Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 (below the age of 18), Dangerous
Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985, and Dangerous Drugs
(Forfeiture of Property) Act 1988.
to point out to the Government that the biggest reason why they were not
doing well in the fight against drug abuse was due to corruption. Laws may
be tightened and modern detecting methods and machines can be purchased, but
things will not improve without proper enforcement. And so long as
corruption is rampant, we can expect no proper enforcement.
time for the Government to work closely with NGOs and experts in the fields
to fight drug abuse and to curb the exponential increase of HIV/AIDS cases
in the country.
are several established NGOs and many seasoned and experienced experts who
have dedicated their time and energy to battle drug abuse in the country.
They have been advocating for harm reduction and other new approaches
instead of relying solely on the outdated abstinence modal. They should be
invited to help formulate new strategies and action plans together with all
relevant ministries and government agencies.
than 300,000 Malaysia were detected as drug addicts by the end of 2004. The
number of HIV/AIDS cases has shot up to 70,000. And the starting age of drug
addicts have becoming even younger (from 13 to 15 year-olds).
Government must really buck up instead of passing the buck!
* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew,
DAP International Secretary and NGO bureau chief