KOTA KINABALU: Drug dealers are exploiting children as more crackdowns on drug offenders are conducted nationwide.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman said this was just one of the tactics drug dealers were using to keep their illegal operations alive.
“These exploited children, most of whom are stateless teenagers, are introduced to drugs and turned into addicts, among others.
“This is what we will be looking into, and we need to find ways to identify those being exploited and to nip the problem in the bud,” he added.
Azis said children were being targeted because criminals know that if they were to be nabbed, they would only be placed in rehabilitation and not jail.
“We need to be ahead of (these criminals),” he said before flagging off and joining in a convoy to create awareness on drug abuse here Wednesday (April 24).
Azis added that although the situation involving drug use and abuse among children in Sabah may not be as serious as those in bigger cities in Malaysia, it was necessary to contain and eliminate the problem.
Asked whether the rate of drug abuse would worsen if the death penalty were to be abolished, he said the issue was not about that.
“If we look at nations with the death penalty, they still have major drug problems and so this is a subjective matter.
“What is important is for us to (have a solution) that is right for our country,” he said.
Over a hundred people are taking part in the drug-awareness convoy, including members of the Sabah big bikers club, city police and the National Anti-Drug Agency.
Azis added that he hopes they would be able to reach as many people as possible.
“We want to bring the message on the harms of drug abuse to as many people as possible, from children to adults,” he said.
The convoy starts at Kota Kinabalu and will go to Ranau, Kundasang, Telupid, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu and end at Semporna.
He added that the convoy will also take part in the Regatta Lepa event in Semporna on Friday (April 26).