PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Substance Abuse Council (Masac) is seeking RM23 million under the 2021 budget to continue carrying out its rehabilitation and treatment programmes, aftercare for former users, education campaigns, training as well as research and development.
In a statement today, the council said it was disappointed that other government agencies and NGOs involved in rehabilitation and prevention activities had been given adequate funds under the budget.
“Masac, which represents 43 NGOs which offer the same services, was not given any money in the budget,” it said.
Masac said such allocations were important for it to fill any shortage of services by the government, including accepting users who were often left out of government programmes.
These included the underage, pregnant, homeless, elderly, the mentally ill and those with contagious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, TB and others.
It proposed that the government provide it with RM12.5 million for treatment and drug rehabilitation at its 55 Masac centres.
These centres can take in a maximum of 2,500 patients. However, currently, these centres are only operating at 50% capacity due to a shortage of funds.
Masac also asked for an additional RM1 million for aftercare, job placement or support group services being carried out by the 43 NGOs under the council.
“They can only afford to carry out follow-up services for 1,200 clients who have concluded their rehabilitation programmes,” it said.
Masac is seeking RM2 million for 20 NGOs to carry out prevention campaigns for schools, youths, parents and the community.
It is also asking for another RM1 million for workshops, seminars or symposiums to train 500 service providers to increase their competency in carrying out their tasks.
For R&D activities, the council has asked for RM1 million. “Our country is in need of a comprehensive database,” it added.
Masac also urged GLCs and the corporate sector to sponsor or provide matching grants for Masac’s NGOs.