Caning not the answer, say former addicts


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 18 Mar 2017

PETALING JAYA: Harsh action such as caning drug addicts will not work – this is the frank opinion of drug addicts who have kicked the habit and turned over a new leaf.

Kenosis Home Drug Rehabilita­tion centre head Pastor Richard Lee said he was totally against caning drug addicts.

“I have no sympathy for drug traffickers or pushers but drug addicts need attention and care. I believe instilling a fear of God in them will help,” he said.

The former addict criticised PAS MP Datuk Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad for suggesting in Parlia­ment on Thursday that drug addicts should be caned as they “are most afraid of pain”.

“He is simply shooting his mouth without thinking. Caning can never bring any positive result. It is kindness and genuine concern which will help,” he added.

Pastor Lee, 68, said he has been helping 120 hardcore addicts at his centre in Tropicana here over the past 15 years.

Another former drug addict Michael Tan, 61, now a successful businessman, spoke out against the proposal.

“That is something that is last on my mind, I am also helping out with drug addicts and based on experience, it is love, care and concern that wins the day.

“I have seen this happening over and over again, I feel for the drug addicts and know exactly what they are feeling and what should be done next. Caning is never a solution,” he added.

Tan said he was also involved in a Christian group helping drug addicts get back on their feet and become independent, apart from giving motivational talks to the masses on drug addiction.

Meanwhile, MCA religious harmony bureau deputy chairman Datuk Ng Chok Sin also hit out at Dr Nik Mazian, saying it was ridiculous to assume that “fear of the lash will discourage drug users”.

“Representing a religious-based party, surely Dr Nik Mazian is aware that religious counselling coupled with strong emotional support from family, friends and guidance officers can contribute better towards drug addicts turning over a new leaf,” Ng said in a statement yesterday.

Ng said there were already laws that targeted drug abuse and trafficking.

“The ugly truth is that we do not live in a perfect world and these laws and punishments have not translated into removing all forms of criminal offences and addictions,” he said.

He said there were also rehabilitation and education programmes by the National Anti-Drugs Agency as well as NGOs offering halfway homes for drug addicts.

“Prevention is better than cure. PAS should address the reasons why people turn to drugs rather than simply spewing ‘rotan this and that’,” said Ng.

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