Drug-taking menace in Felda settlements nothing new, says NGO

Mazlan-Aliman_dadah_felda_600PETALING JAYA: Drug addiction is widespread among Felda settlers and curbing the menace has been an uphill task for anti-drug agencies, an NGO said.

The president of the National Association of Felda Settlers’ Children (Anak), Mazlan Aliman, said the problem had been around for a long time despite the best efforts by the relevant agencies, including the police.

“The war on drugs has been ongoing, from the time of Pemadam (an anti-drug addiction NGO) and the police’s narcotics department to the National Anti-Drugs Agency, with the support of Rela and Felda,” the activist told FMT.

However, he said, drugs remained easily available in Felda settlements through small-time pushers.

This was the main reason why the war against drugs in such areas was proving to be an uphill task, he added.

Mazlan’s comments followed the revelation by Negeri Sembilan police that the demand for synthetic drugs including syabu among youths in Felda schemes in the state was increasing despite their prices rising compared to heroin, which was the hard drug previously preferred.

Negeri Sembilan deputy police chief SAC Muhamad Zaki Harun said the demand for syabu was almost equal to that for heroin because of the tendency of drug users to try out different drugs.

Muhamad Zaki also said statistics on drug-related arrests in Negeri Sembilan in January and February this year showed a 67% increase compared to the same period last year.

Mazlan said one factor contributing to the worsening drug problem in Felda schemes was the lack of religious programmes.

“There is no effort made to attract youths to religious programmes, while the youth associations in Felda settlements are not proactive.

“Activities like football, futsal and cultural shows are organised as side-events and only a handful of youths take part in them,” he said.

Mazlan suggested anti- drug agencies join forces with the education ministry to increase awareness about the danger of drug addiction in primary schools.

“More community-based activities, such as track racing, street soccer and fishing, should be organised to provide youths with the opportunities to spend their time in a more positive way,” he added.