Drugs: Filipinos in Sabah want embassy involved
Published on: Wednesday, August 14, 2019
By: Nikko Fabian

KOTA KINABALU: The increasing number of Filipinos arrested by Malaysian authorities on suspicion of illegal drug trading and possession, has prompted the Concerned Filipino Professionals in Sabah (CFPS) group to urge its embassy in Kuala Lumpur to organise a drug awareness campaign here.

Apart from providing regular consular services , the group said embarking on an extensive drug awareness campaign for Filipinos in Sabah will prevent and discourage them from getting hooked in the unhealthy and life-damaging illegal activities.

The group said the measure will also complement the government’s ongoing fight against drug abuse in Malaysia.

CFPS President Datu Ismail Datu Hiya (pic) said the proposed drug awareness campaign should be supported by the Filipino community especially legitimate business operations (entertainment outlets, recruitment agencies , restaurants , etc) in the name of better future for Malaysians and foreign workers and expatriates.

State Health and People’s Well-being Minister Datuk Frankie Poon Ming Fung on Sunday urged all parties concerned to continue to play a vital role in the fight against drug problems in Sabah.

He said this include participating in various drug prevention programmes organised by various government and private agencies and non-governmental,organisations (NGOs).

 “In this age of sophistication, we need to be smart enough to attract the public to participate in any programme that we advocate for our role as an NGO responsible for helping the government to address the problem of drug abuse, especially among the youths who are our future leaders,” Poon said at the closing ceremony of a drug prevention programme here Saturday.

Expressing support to the Minister’s pronouncement, Datu Ismail said the war against drugs is not only the responsibility of the government but it also calls for public cooperation including migrant workers and other foreign visitors.

“I strongly urge our Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to seriously consider our request to organise extensive drug awareness campaigns like dialogues, forums, meetings, and other form of gatherings to further educate Filipinos on the dangers and serious consequences of drug abuse.

 “The Embassy should also seek the cooperation from the various Filipino alternative centres in Sabah for the same purpose,” Datu Ismail stressed.

As part of the drug awareness campaign, Ruben Castillo suggested posters detailing the negative effects of drug abuse and penalties should required to be visibly posted in all business establishments operated by Filipino entrepreneurs in Sabah.

 “If possible also include the contact telephone numbers and address of the relevant local authorities like the police, drug enforcement unit...instead of only hanging the services or menus offered to customers in the establishment, why not include this kind of public awareness information,” Castillo said adding that a simple poster or tarpaulin will not badly hurt the pockets of operators.

Castillo said organising a drug awareness campaign to complement Malaysia’s fight against drugs will not only help tighten the present harmonious relationship between the two countries but will also be a win-win situation to the people of Sabah and Filipinos.

On her part, Salmah Abdullah said : “ If we can put the ‘no smoking’ sign in our outlets why don’t we also include the ‘no to drug abuse’ sign”.

She said this kind of poster will help remind the public on the dangerous effects of the unhealthy and life threatening habit.

Just like Datu Ismail and Castillo, she hoped the Philippine Embassy will succumb to the proposal of organising drug awareness campaign in Sabah.

‘I do not wish to see my fellow OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) falling victims or landing in Malaysian jails because of drug abuse activities,” she added.

Sharing his thoughts on the issue, Ahmad Nor Hadjail (pic top) who is promoting both local and Philippine handicraft products to foreigners in Sabah urge all Filipinos not to hesitate to immediately inform to the nearest local authorities of any individual or group of people suspected involved in drug trafficking and related activities.

“It is a social obligation for every Filipino residing and working in the State to voluntarily cooperate to the local authorities in addressing any sort of social problem,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu City Police Chief ACP Habibi Majinji said operations against offenders of the Dangerous Drugs Acts 1952 would be carried out from time to time in the area.

The police here detained 66 people aged between 15 and 70 in a week-long operations in and around the city from Aug. 3 to 9.

Habibi said they were detained for various drug offences  — five for supplying and distribution, 13 for possession wwhere 48 were tested positive.

“Those with information on drug activities are urged to contact the city police hotline at 088-529220 or through our Facebook page at Polis Daerah Kota Kinabalu,” he said.



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