ASEAN urged to review drug plan

ASEAN urged to review drug plan
Flags of the states which are also Asean members

The Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) called for a review of a decade-old ASEAN strategies being used to combat drug crimes.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Col (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yasmin Hj Umar made the call during his minister's statement at the third ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (3rd AMMDM) in Jakarta held from Dec 1 to 4.

The minister said the strategy should acknowledge the challenges and gaps in fighting the drug menace.

He also called for a more holistic and balanced drug policy which would promote security and development for the post-2015 ASEAN drug strategy.

According to a PMO, the energy minister suggested for the strategy to outline a realistic set of regional goals or key performance indicators that would allow each ASEAN country to incorporate them into their respective individual national drug strategies.

The minister reiterated the Sultanate's unwavering commitment to work with all ASEAN member states in curbing drug crimes.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin then asked for a sense of urgency in addressing the recent threat of new psychoactive drug substances and the challenges they pose in future drug strategies.

The success of the community-based treatment programme's implementation at the Pusal Al-Islah Rehabilitation Centre in Brunei, which incorporates therapeutic community approach, was also highlighted by the minister.

Brunei's multi-pronged approach at reducing the supply and demand of illicit drugs - which is in line with the vision of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam - was also featured in the minister's statement.

The 3rd AMMDM was officiated by the Vice President of Indonesia Yusuf Kalla and chaired by Police Commissioner General Anang Iskandar, also the Head of the National Narcotics Board in Indonesia.

Brunei hosted the previous AMMDM in 2013, while the 2015th edition will be held in Malaysia.

The PMO stated that during the meeting, the Chairman's report expressed concerns regarding the escalating threat of production, trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs in the region, and reaffirmed their strong commitment and readiness in enhancing regional cooperation and continuing relentless work in mitigating the scourge of illicit drugs.

The ministers attending the meeting agreed that the regional aspiration of "Drug-Free ASEAN", which signifies ASEAN resilience and commitment towards a zero tolerance approach in protecting the community from illicit drugs, should be maintained, according to the Chairman's report.

The report also highlighted the need for a new paradigm of managing risks of drugs to be implemented, with a new strategy and approach that balances both the treatment and prevention approach with the law enforcement approach.

The Chairman also emphasised that the relentless actions against drug threat and abuse must be an ongoing and lifelong effort which requires hard work, more coordination and effective actions beyond 2015.

A comprehensive concept paper on the institutionalisation of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters was also approved and welcomed, while work on the regional review titled "Achieving a Drug Free 2015: Review and Recommendations Post 2015" is still ongoing with its finalisation being highly anticipated, said the Chairman's report.

The 3rd AMMDM was preceded by the Senior Official Meeting the day before, in which the working draft of progress in implementing ASEAN Drug-Free 2015 was discussed and elaborated on, according to PMO.

Also part of the Bruneian delegations were the Permanent Secretary at PMO Dato Paduka Hj Hamdan Hj Abu Bakar and the ambassador of Brunei to Indonesia Brigadier General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Hj Mahmud Hj Saidin, along with other senior officials from PMO and the Narcotics Control Bureau.

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