Malaysian Home Minister: Syndicates trying to penetrate into much younger market now

KAJANG - School children as young as nine are now being targeted by drug peddlers and syndicates, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the drug syndicates were trying to penetrate into a much younger market but warned that the authorities were aware of their modus operandi and had adopted a zero-tolerance policy against drugs.

"We will intensify our war against drugs and the syndicates that are targeting our school kids. They are the future of our country.

"At the same time, we are hoping that parents would also help us by monitoring their children's beha­viour," he told a press conference after launching the national anti-drug campaign celebration here, yesterday.

He also noted that children of VIPs were also currently targeted by drug dealers as their long-term clients.

"This is because of a number of reasons, including that they could use the VIPs' names to sell their products to the others as well as turning them into their permanent clients."

Zahid said the ministry had formed a special tactics and intelligence narcotics group (Sting) under Bukit Aman to go after drug kingpins as well as local and international drug syndicates.

"We will not take such threats lightly and we will need the co-operation from all stakeholders including the National Anti-Drug Agency and non-governmental organisations," he said.

The Government had established 12 Cure and Care 1Malaysia clinics nationwide to provide rehabilitation treatments for drug addicts.

"Since drug rehabilitation is quite expensive, we have introduced several­ measures so patients can have access to medication and help.

"Of the total number of patients at the Cure and Care 1Malaysia clinics, 13,256 are inpatient clients, 11,342 are outpatient clients while 14,854 are clients based on reference and advocacy programmes," Zahid said.