SEREMBAN – The demand for synthetic drugs or syabu among children of Felda settlers in the state shows an upward trend despite the higher price compared to the previously preferred heroin.
Chronic addiction to expensive drugs is one of the contributing factors in various crime incidents including burglary, robbery and theft.
Negeri Sembilan deputy police chief SAC Muhamad Zaki Harun said the demand for syabu was almost equal to that for heroin because of users tendency to try out different drug types.
“For that, they need more money and when there is no money, that s where crime comes in. We can connect an area where crime thrives with the presence of drug addicts.
“Some of these addicts steal rubber and palm oil to sell.They will do anything to find cash for their drug supply,” he told Bernama in an interview recently.
Aside from that, he said, ‘ketum’ extract recorded high demand, with discovery by police in Jempol of a ketum farm and premises to process the plant.
“What is also becoming a concern is that the ‘distributor who was detained, came from a Felda area, which obviously made it easier for the Felda children to get their supply,” he said.
Muhamad Zaki said statistics on drug-related arrests in Negeri Sembilan between January and February this year showed a 67 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.
“The operations we carried out in Felda areas in Kuala Pilah, Tampin, Jelebu and Jempol showed an increase this year in the number of arrests with 136 compared to 81 in the same period last year,” he said.
He said as long as there was a demand, there would be supply, which necessitated a holistic approach in the all-out war against the culprits and their activities.
“The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) are hunting down the suppliers under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 and beginning this year will focus on information gathering, conversation and intelligence witnesses.
“Even if nothing was found on the suspect at the point of arrest, based on the information obtained, and once we can confirm that he was involved in drugs and we have identified his supply trail, we will detain him after getting the green light from the Home Ministry,” he said.
On drug confiscation statistics, Muhamad Zaki said an assortment of drugs such as 2.35 kg of heroin, cannabis (2.66 kg), ketum leaves (46.77 kg), erimin 5 (612 pills) worth RM138,306 were seized, involving 1,839 suspects, between January and February this year.
He said police also detected a new distribution strategy for syabu, where the drug was concealed in four-gram packets of ‘Fruit Powder Drinks’ and sold for RM300 in entertainment clubs.
According to him, 23 people were detained under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 last year and 14 of them were believed to have been involved in secret societies.
“Last year under this law, 70 arrests were made. This year, the number of arrests will be higher. We believe, under this law, our efforts will be more successful as we are cutting off the supply.
“We will also target entertainment centres in Seremban, Nilai and Port Dickson, where we know have elements of drug-trafficking,” he said.
Mohammed Zaki said police were also banking on public cooperation through channeling of information to effectively combat drug abuse and trafficking.
Meanwhile, Jempol police chief Supt Noorzainy Mohd Noor said the measures taken by PDRM in the district which has 36 Felda settlements had been successful in lowering the crime index in the area.
He said based on drug confiscation statistics (for supply), heroin recorded the highest with 1,041 grams followed by syabu (132 grams) while in the category for demand, ketum recorded the highest (285 litres), followed by heroin (24 grams), cannabis (21 grams) and syabu (13 grams).
“For this year, from January till March, heroin recorded the highest amount seized (supply category) followed by syabu. Similarly, ketum (demand category), with 92 litres, followed by syabu (24 grams), cannabis (12 grams) and heroin (four grams),” he said.
He said there were 39 arrests under the supply category and 225 under the demand category, while 486 individuals aged between 14 and 40 years were arrested for drug addiction.