The success has received the attention and praise of Home Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who said such activities occurred frequently in the country’s northern region, known as the Golden Triangle Area.
“That is why our authorities have succeeded in discovering the largest drug smuggler in Penang with a seizure of almost 10 tonnes which worth hundreds of millions (ringgit),” he said during an interview with Bernama recently.
Muhyiddin also considered the success of bringing those involved in drug-related activities to court as an achievement.
“What’s troubling is the trend among children, aged between 12 and13, who are not only involved in drug abuse but sometimes in drug peddling as well,” he said.
“Malaysia is like a transit point for drug trafficking, (and) this is not good for us,” he added.
On Sept 10, police busted an international drug smuggling syndicate after seizing 12 tonnes of cocaine mixed with 60 tonnes of charcoal worth RM2.4 billion from three containers at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT).
The syndicate which smuggled the drug in 60 sacks of charcoal from South America was crippled in the ‘Ops Eagle’, conducted in Butterworth and Bayan Baru in Penang and Padang Serai, Kedah.
In a related development, the ministry intends to decriminalise drug addicts, in which, instead of punishing them under the law, those who are caught in raids will be sent to rehabilitation centres for treatment.
Muhyiddin said the proposal was currently under consideration.
On June 24, Bernama reported that drug addicts in this country are no longer seen as criminals who must be punished but are patients in need of treatment and rehabilitation.
This follows discussions between the Home Affairs Ministry and the Health Ministry which agreed to decriminalise addicts.
“To that end, we need to assist privately funded rehabilitation centres to help support the role of the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK), so that the problem can be addressed more effectively,” he said.
In another development, Muhyiddin said his ministry also emphasised on the maritime enforcement which had seen the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) achieving great success in capturing individuals encroaching the country’s waters.
“This matter (encroaching Malaysian waters) is not to be taken lightly and we also have overlapped territorial seas especially with Vietnam.
“But if we don’t ensure the safety of the said areas now, then we would not be able to support our claim at the tribunal when the time comes for us to do, and that would be a loss to the country,” he said.
Muhyiddin said MMEA role was important in assisting the Fisheries Department in preventing and detaining foreign boats entering the country’s waters to illegally fishing which affects local fishermen livelihoods.
“What important is that the ministry wants to see MMEA have greater assets in terms of owning larger boats as the country has expansive territorial waters… and it is not easy to guard such expansive areas, but I have some ideas on how to solve the problem,” he said.
Among those ideas are leasing the vessels or boat from providers which will not incur high cost to the government, he added. — BERNAMA