Drug rehab centre pleads for more time to move

Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia’s current location in Bukit Tunku, Kuala Lumpur. The centre is to move to Bentong, Pahang.

KUALA LUMPUR: A drug rehabilitation centre here is making an appeal to Prime Minister Muyhiddin Yassin and sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional for more time to move out from its present location in Bukit Tunku.

Ramli Abd Samad, president of Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia, told FMT they had accepted the fact that they must move to a new facility in Kampung Cinta Manis, Bentong, Pahang, and were willing to do so once it is ready.

Persatuan Pengasih is a rehabilitation centre founded and run by former addicts. It has been in a legal battle with Khazanah subsidiary STLR Sdn Bhd, which owns a portion of the land that the centre now occupies.

Ramli said Pengasih had initially agreed to move on the promise of a better facility, and was asked to move in by 2017. However, it refused as the facility was not completed, and the dispute triggered a legal battle.

That ended with a settlement last year requiring Pengasih to move by June 2020 and the centre appointing its own contractor to complete the works as the previous contractor failed to meet expectations.

But Ramli said the new facility is still far from ready as construction works and fundraising initiatives have been suspended under the movement control order (MCO).

Khazanah Nasional managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan told FMT he understood Pengasih’s concerns as the MCO has affected everyone.

“I’m sure we can reach a reasonable compromise to give them some extra time. However, I can’t provide details right now as this would be subject to what they would propose to us.”

Ramli said the new centre had no water and electricity supply and the buildings were not fit for habitation. “The certificate of completion and compliance has not been issued,” he added.

The previous Khazanah management had promised to provide a complete rehabilitation facility of international standard.

“We were told that it would be a complete facility. But we do not have a surau, clinic or a multipurpose hall which are crucial requirements for a conducive rehabilitation environment.”

This facility has only a hostel, staff quarters, dining hall and office.

Ramli said the centre needs some RM4 million. It has so far raised RM250,000.

“We hope the PM and Khazanah Nasional will give us an extension of time. We are agreeable to moving, we just want to move to a complete facility. We just need an extension until it is truly complete,” he said.

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