‘We have failed the poor’

A senior consultant paediatrician says there is an urgent need to provide children safe spaces to reduce the number of drug addicts, especially among youths, in the country.

“Most of the time these children are left on their own as both parents have to work. They are no safe spaces for them. Many end up on the streets,” said Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS.

“Once there, they get caught in the wrong crowd. From one cigarette, they end up taking harder substances. Before long, they become addicts.

“There are not enough safe spaces for children. This is especially severe for those living in poverty. Parents who are better off would be able to pay for good childcare.”

Dr Amar said numerous studies had shown that for many living in poverty, drugs were an escape mechanism for their mundane lives.

His comments come as the police hunt for a 38-year-old man who is believed to have groomed his three-year-old stepson to be a drug addict.

The boy tested positive four days ago for amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Police said initial investigations showed the boy was with his stepfather in Nilai on April 14.

Dr Amar added: “Two studies done on child abuse noted that in many cases, the parents were drug abusers.

“You need a good support system for the poor but we don’t have that in the country. We have failed them.”

The National Anti-Drugs Agency revealed in the first half of 2020 two cases of children aged 12 and below who had abused drugs. The agency’s records showed 1,251 youths (aged 13-18), had abused drugs while many drug addicts – 61,851 – were in the 19-39 age group.

The agency said most of the drugs used were amphetamine-type stimulants which include amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Dr Amar, who worked with adult addicts in the past, said the relapse rate was quite high and as such, prevention is always better than cure.

“We have to act fast. Once we recognise the problems, we need to act early and save the children … but that is easier said than done,” he said.

“Drugs alter the brain and the craving is so strong. We need to relook how we treat the poor and give them hope.”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

83 COVID-19 CLUSTERS LINKED TO EDUCATION SECTOR

Between Jan 1 and April 20, a total of 83 Covid-19 clusters involving 4,686 cases were linked to the education sector.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said 49 of these clusters (involving 2,617 patients) were still active.

“Thirty-nine of the total clusters involved schools or institutions under the Education Ministry (1,420 cases), while 19 clusters (1,870 cases) involved institutions under the Higher Education Ministry,” he said.

The remaining 25 clusters (1,578 cases) involved other educational institutions

He reminded all in the education sector to adhere to standard operating procedures before, during, and after learning or training hours.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR NOOR HISHAM

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah turned 58 today.

Malaysians took to social media to greet him while urging him to stay strong and persistent in the fight against Covid-19 in the country.

Some said they miss watching him giving the daily Covid-19 updates on television.

KLANG MP CALLS FOR IPCMC, PROBE INTO GANAPATHY’S DEATH

Charles Santiago called on the government to urgently establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to address deaths in police custody.

The Klang MP also urged Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador to conduct an independent investigation into the death of A. Ganapathy, and suspend the cops involved. He said the autopsy report and police investigations should be made public.

Ganapathy was arrested on Feb 24 and on March 8 his family received a call from the police informing he had been released but was admitted to Selayang Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Ganapathy, who had one of his legs amputated following alleged police brutality at a detention centre, died at Selayang Hospital on April 18.

MAN FALLS TO DEATH IN KLCC

A man fell to his death from the third floor of Suria KLCC this afternoon.

Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Mohd Zainal Abdullah confirmed the incident and said the matter was being investigated.

POLICE SMASH ONLINE GAMBLING SYNDICATE

Police arrested 11 people, aged 19 to 38, believed to be involved in online gambling.

Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department (CID) SAC Saiful Annuar Yusoff said the online gaming operation was making up to RM20,000 a day and had been operating for the past two months.

CBN WILL NOT BE DEMOLISHED

Iconic school Convent Bukit Nanas will not be torn down but the land will be returned to the government once its lease expires on Sept 6.

The Federal Territories Land and Mines Office said the land will be given on a policy basis to the Federal Land Commissioner for a government school site – the way it operates currently.

Located at Jalan Bukit Nanas in Kuala Lumpur, the school was established in 1899 by nuns of the Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus.

AWARD-WINNING MALAYSIAN CHOCOLATE MAKER EAGER TO CONQUER CHINA

Award-winning Malaysian chocolate maker Benns Ethicoa has held talks with the Malaysian Cocoa Board about plans to ‘conquer’ the Chinese market by the third quarter of the year.

“There is a huge untapped market in China as chocolates are becoming more and more popular,” said Benns’ executive director Wilfred Ng.

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