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War on gangs: Youth Ministry targets high-risk areas

 | September 28, 2013

The Youth and Sports Ministry intends to tackle gangsterism and organized crime at the grass roots level.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s ongoing war on gangsterism was boosted today with the Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin declaring that the ministry would go to the ground and weed-out gang members in “high-risk” areas.

Khairy, who is Umno and Barisan Nasional youth chief, said relying on the long arm of the law to tackle organized crime and gangsterism in the country was not enough.

“Our efforts need to be more holistic; we cannot just rely on law enforcement. There needs to be efforts to intervene at the fundamental level,” Khairy said in his opening speech at a forum on managing crime and gangsterism in Malaysia.

“So, we must identify the root causes behind the youths’ involvement in gangs. We need to  help those living in high risk areas and intervene before they are sucked into this gangsterism phenomenon.”

The Rembau MP said his ministry would launch a “social inclusion” programme to provide skills, funds and counseling to youths at risk of joining gangs, existing gang members as well as those who had left gangs.

“We can provide them with everything, but if we wait for the youths to come to us, it’s not going to happen. So we ourselves will go to high-risk areas under our social inclusion programme, and rehabilitate the youths there.”

He said the programme would be launched as soon as possible, but did not give an exact time frame, saying that he wished to obtain stakeholders’ views on the issue first.

“If the youths want a sense of identity and belongings, why are they joining gangs, and not youth organisations? We need to think about this if we want to provide alternatives to these gang members,” he said.

The Sports and Youth Ministry’s fundamental-level approach comes in the heels of a proposal to amend the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) 1959, which would reintroduce detention without trial in the country.


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