The drug problem has haunted the Malay/Muslim community for a long time and has to be stopped in this generation, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin said yesterday.
He was speaking in Malay at the launch of a new anti-drug campaign at the Sultan Mosque. Figures released recently show Malays account for more than half of drug abusers arrested in 2016, up from 32 per cent in 2006.
Mr Amrin said people in the community have to show they care for their friends and families by making it their "responsibility to shield or free them from drug abuse".
He said: "Drugs are haram (forbidden in Islam). But the problem has haunted our community for a long time. Let's stop the problem in this generation. Don't allow it to grow."
He said that last year, 1,700 Malays were arrested for drug-related offences, compared to 1,380 in 2010.
The number of new drug offenders also rose from about 590 in 2010, to nearly 730 last year. And 20 per cent of new Malay drug offenders were below the age of 20.
Dr Mariam Aljunied, a volunteer and a member of the management committee at Muhammadiyah Welfare Home, described the drug problem as reaching "acute levels". "At the Muhammadiyah Home, we see the impact of this. More than half of the boys who are sent to the home for care, come from families where either one or both parents are incarcerated because of drugs," she said.
The Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas), Safinah Institute, Muhammadiyah Welfare Home and SimplyIslam renewed their anti-drug charge with the "Dadah Itu Haram" (Drugs are forbidden) campaign yesterday.
Dr Mariam said besides spreading the anti-drug message to the public, the campaign will target at-risk groups like children of drug offenders and deal with those already facing drug addiction issues.
Parents who suspect their children of dabbling in drugs should seek help in the early stages and not wait until it is too late, she added. "Our key learning message to every one is that drugs destroy families. It doesn't just destroy individuals."
Pergas president Mohamad Hasbi Hassansaid true Muslims do not take drugs because drugs are "dirty" and "forbidden". Speaking to reporters later, Ustaz Hasbi said: "To make this campaign a success, we cannot deny that the need for funds from all parties is equally important - the Government, the community and individuals."
VIDEO: Mr Amrin Amin arriving at the launch of the campaign with a convoy of bikers from 40 motorcycling groups.