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Friday, March 17, 2017

PAS and rotan, rotan, rotan

COMMENT Not tired of proposing that pregnant women who conceive out-of-the wedlock be flogged, the PAS Pasir Puteh MP Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad ups the ante by recommending that drug addicts be similarly lashed to “put fear into them to stop taking drugs (The Star, 17 Mar 2017).”

PAS should explain how, despite the enforcement of hudud by the Taliban regime, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates opium production in Afghanistan rose 43 percent in 2016?

For one who was trained as a doctor in Egypt and holds a Masters in Surgery from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Nik Mazian should not bring the medical and healthcare profession into disrepute by such preposterous recommendations as to lash pregnant women and drug addicts.

Section 39A of the Dangerous Drug Act 1952 already provides for a minimum 10 strokes of the rotan, and at least five years of jail for drug possession. But it should be pointed out that narcotics possession is distinct from drug addiction.

Nik Mazian’s latest suggestion to cane people hooked on drugs is ridiculous, to assume that the fear of the lash will discourage drug users. All decent minded and civic conscious people should fear all types of criminal offences or addiction, and not only solely drug addiction.

There are already existing sentences provided by various government laws, not only in Malaysia but everywhere in the world, to deter (and instil fear in) any form of crime, drug trafficking and peddling, drug abuse. But the ugly truth is that we do not live in a perfect world, and these laws and punishments have not translated to all forms of criminal offences and addictions being wiped out.

There are also existing laws and rehabilitation and education programmes by the National Anti-Drugs Agency, as ordered by the courts against drug users, to tackle substance abuse and assist in an addict’s recovery.

Prevention better than cane

Likewise, there are also religious-based based NGOs representing the major religions in Malaysia, which also operate halfway homes to assist drug addicts.

Representing a religious-based party, surely Nik Mazian is aware that religious counselling, coupled with strong emotional support from family, friends and guidance officers, can contribute towards drug addicts turning over a new leaf and reducing recidivism.

Prevention is better than cure. PAS should address the reasons and overcome the cause as to why people turn to drugs or become hooked on drugs, rather than simply spew “rotan this” and “rotan that”.

Has it occurred to PAS that on the seedy world of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, victims are known to be drugged to make them dependent on drugs, and thus “hutang” (become dependent on) the pimps?

As a medical doctor, Nik Mazian should explain how whipping, and in PAS’ case, it would be public flogging, will not leave emotional scars and public rejection that may cause an addict to have a relapse.

Or is PAS simply lusting for the sight of inflicting pain and humiliation?

By Ng Chok Sin

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