Berakas, Thursday, 24th May - The importance of concerted cooperative regional and international efforts in tackling the drug menace was highlighted by Legislative Council (LegCo) Speaker Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Dato Setia Haji Mohamed Taib.
He made these comments in his address as ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) President at the opening ceremony of the 4th meeting of the AIPA Advisory Council on Dangerous Drugs (AIPACODD), held on Monday on a virtual platform. Tackling the drug menace remains an international responsibility, and requires a concerted regional and international effort to address the existing and emerging challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, he said.
“Due to the trans-boundary nature of the non-traditional security threat, it is vital to foster greater regional cooperation and share the responsibility in combating this issue within the region.”
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman also said, “I believe that the AIPACODD meeting will serve its purpose well in providing a platform to share and exchange information, experiences including legislation to mitigate against the imminent consequences of drugs. Therefore, the meeting is a testament to the commitment and determination of AIPA member Parliaments to work collectively in achieving our aspiration of a Drug-Free ASEAN community.
“The dangers which illicit drugs impose on our people, along with the implications of socio-economic damages, remain a serious challenge.
“The theme of the 4th AIPACODD meeting this year, ‘Prevailing the Contemporary and Responsive Challenges towards Drug-Free ASEAN’, provides an impetus for us to also focus and be responsive to the contemporary or present-day challenges, along with the more traditional challenges of drug eradication.
“In reality, the mobility restrictions and related measures, as well as the associated challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have certainly not ceased illegal drug trafficking activities, as shown by the increased drug seizures by several countriesin ASEAN.
“According to a recent research brief by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could – in the medium-term – lead to further increases in drug production, trafficking and misuse.
“The report also suggests that the crisis may exacerbate the socioeconomic situation of vulnerable groups, who in turn may increasingly resort to illicit activities. It is, therefore, ever more important for us as the legislative branch of ASEAN to be forward-looking and mindful of these impending challenges to enable us to better discuss preemptive measures.”
(News source: Borneo Bulletin)