LANGKAWI - The Asean region must continue to adopt a zero-tolerance approach towards drugs, even as other countries move towards a "softer and less robust approach" in tackling the problem, according to Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee.
Mr Lee, who is also Senior Minister of State for National Development, was speaking at the fourth Asean Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters in Langkawi, Malaysia, which concluded on Thursday.
During the meeting, Mr Lee noted that the global drug situation had worsened and urged Asean member states, together with their law enforcement agencies, to stand firm against any proposal to impose soft approaches towards drugs.
He further stressed the importance of families and community partners such as schools and voluntary welfare organisations to raise awareness among youth about the harm of drugs.
The meeting was attended by Asean ministers overseeing the drug situation or their representatives. Mr Lee was accompanied by officials from the Central Narcotics Bureau and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
According to MHA, Mr Lee also reaffirmed Singapore's commitment to the vision of a Drug-Free Asean and further called upon Asean to stand united at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem in April next year.
It added that the Asean ministers have agreed to deliver a joint statement on Asean's zero-tolerance approach to drug abuse at UNGASS and also at its preceding preparatory meeting, the 59th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in March next year.
Mr Lee also met Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Dato' Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who chaired the ministerial meeting.
Next year, Singapore will host the fifth Asean Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters.