Monday, August 8

Sarawak presents RM5.03 mln in grants to federal agencies battling drug, substance abuse


Abang Johari (fourth left) and Fatimah (fifth right) join a group photo with the ministry’s assistant ministers Datuk Francis Harden Hollis (second left) and Datuk Rosey Yunus (third right), as well as grant recipients. – Information Department photo

KUCHING (Oct 6): The Sarawak government today presented RM5.03 million in special grants to three federal agencies implementing the Integrated Action Plan to Address Drugs and Substance Abuse Issues in Sarawak (MIDS).

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg handed over the grants during the Ministry of Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development’s 10th anniversary celebration.

The ministry leads the One Stop Committee (OSC), which administers the implementation of MIDS.

The first grant of RM1.773 million received by Sarawak police commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail for the Narcotics Crime Investigation Department to acquire the Instant Visual Drug Detector (IVDD) and Hand-Held Drug Detector.

Sarawak Customs deputy director Nadzri Ariffin received the second grant of RM3.012 million for the department to procure tactical equipment and instruments such as artificial intelligence-based narcotics scanner, as well as drug detector dogs.

State Health Department principal assistant director (non-communicable disease control) Dr Asya’ari Arif received the third grant of RM245,000 to procure facilities for the One Stop Centre for Addiction (Osca).

In her speech, Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said the OSC for the MIDS was established on Aug 14, 2018 to address problems associated with drug and substance abuse in a more integrated manner.

During the same event, RM110,000 medical assistance was also presented to Sarawak Hearing and Aural Rehabilitation Society (Sarawak Hear) deputy president Alexander Stephen for three-year-old Mervina Tadu Stanley to have cochlea implant surgery.

The State Health Department also received funds for six new haemodialysis machines costing RM41,500 each.

Two of the units will go to the Samarahan Heart Centre, while one unit will go to Dalat Hospital, Mukah; Marudi Hospital, Miri; Saratok Hospital, Betong; and Sarikei Hospital respectively.

Fatimah said the ministry has made great strides in the last 10 years to ensure no one is being left behind in the effort to ensure the well-being and welfare of every Sarawakian.

To strengthen efforts to ensure accessibility, equity and quality early childhood education for all, she said the ministry took the bold step of taking over the management of childcare centres and kindergartens previously managed by Sedidik Sdn Bhd on July 20, 2020.

“From the records of the Sarawak Education Department for 2021, it was found that 1.6 per cent or 617 of those entering Primary 1 did not attend preschool. Our target is to ensure all those entering Primary 1 get to go for preschool education first,” she said.

On laws affecting children, she said The Second Schedule (Extract From The Central Register of the Adoption (Central Registry) Regulations, 1960 was amended on Jan 1 for the best interests of the child, where details of both biological and adoptive parents are included in the child’s adoption certificate.

“This move is made to resolve matters involving illegal adoptions as well as to uphold the rights of the child to know their biological parents,” she explained.

She also expressed hope that the process of citizenship applications by the stateless under the Article 15A of the Federal Constitution could be expedited following the reinstatement of the Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship on April 20 this year.

On another matter, she said the ministry established the One Stop Early Intervention Centre (OSEIC) in Kuching to provide early diagnosis, intervention, and rehabilitation for persons with disabilities and added another OSEIC is planned for the northern region.

She also revealed 21,016 have benefited from skills training since 2015 and 1,300 women entrepreneurs have benefited from business grants through the ministry.

Fatimah added another initiative by the Sarawak government through the ministry was to introduce the Kenyalang Gold Card for senior citizens in January 2020, which enables cardholders to enjoy benefits in the form of discounts, rebates, and other privileges such as death compassionate assistance.