KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today asked the Prisons Department to look at new ways to carry out drug rehabilitation programmes.
Zahid, who is also home minister, said rehabilitation worked better than punishment, especially for juveniles.
He gave the example of the curriculum implemented by Henry Gurney schools and other institutions, which he said had proven more effective than placing offenders behind bars.
“If they are placed in prison, they learn to carry out crimes.
“Prison becomes their training school to learn crime,” he told reporters after officiating the Crime Prevention Education Convention for the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
He was fielding questions regarding the 159 children arrested last year under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
In December, Zahid said the government had failed in its war on drugs, as the number of users and addicts had continued to rise in recent years.
He said 58% of convicts in jail were there for drug-related crimes, while the number of addicts increased by 14% last year.
The number of addicts in 2016 was 30,847, while in 2015 the number stood at 26,668.
As for new addicts, the number increased from 20,281 to 22,295 in the same time span.