To prevent social ills, government mulls curfew for those aged under 18

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. -filepic

PUTRAJAYA: Imposing a curfew on those who are under 18 years old may help prevent them from getting involved in social ills, particularly drugs.

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Authorities are mulling the possibility of setting a time limit for them to be out of the house without adult supervision to prevent young people from negative activities and influences.

This was among matters raised and agreed on at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Eradicating Drugs chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic).

Another pertinent matter brought up was a proposal to draw up a law to prevent, treat and monitor abusers of psychotropic substances, including inhalants such as glue.

Dr Wan Azizah said authorities were considering a curfew for children under 18 as records showed that glue sniffing was serious among the young.

“We are looking at this policy, which is practised in Iceland. This is a model that we can emulate. It may not be easy to implement but we feel this is necessary and can definitely help prevent young people form being involved in negative activities,” she said after chairing the meeting on Thursday (Jan 17).

Under Iceland’s Child Protection Act, children under 12 may not be outdoors after 8pm unless accompanied by an adult.

Children aged 13 to 16 may not be outdoors after 10pm, unless on their way home from a recognised event organised by schools, sports organisations or youth clubs.

Those who break curfew are taken to the police station and parents will have to pick their children up from there.

Dr Wan Azizah also said a new law to deal with psychotropic substance abusers was in the pipeline, adding that this was aimed at tackling the use of inhalants, including glue sniffing, among the youth.

“This is still at the proposal stage. We have yet to figure out the punitive actions as well as educational elements that we want to have as part of the law.

"What is for sure is that there is a need to ensure that our future generation are not addicted to psychotropic products and glue sniffing,” she said, adding that while the habit might not seem as dangerous as injecting oneself with drugs, the effects of glue sniffing are equally, if not, more harmful.

The meeting also agreed to make it mandatory for the public to seek approval from the authorities to grow ketum.

While planting ketum trees is not a crime, doing this on a commercial scale, including picking and processing the leaves, is an offence under the Poisons Act 1952 (revised in 1989) since 2004.

Ketum is used as a painkiller as well as an energy booster, but its abuse can lead to addiction.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had recently said the growing of ketum should be banned in Malaysia because it had been abused by drug users.

Dr Wan Azizah said to encourage drug addicts to seek treatment, the committee proposed that those who “check-in” to rehabilitation centres voluntarily, be left out of the offenders’ registry.

“We hope this initiative will inspire them to seek help to kick their addiction. By not registering them as drug offenders, we hope this will lift the stigma to give them a chance to have a new life and assimilate into society,” she added.

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