Seven-member team recognised for anti-drug efforts among Malay-Muslim community

Mr Saherly Limat (second from right), second deputy director of the Central Narcotics Bureau's operations division, with other members of the Dadah itu Haram campaign secretariat. The team was awarded the Minister for Home Affairs Home Team Achieveme
Mr Saherly Limat (second from right), second deputy director of the Central Narcotics Bureau's operations division, with other members of the Dadah itu Haram campaign secretariat. The team was awarded the Minister for Home Affairs Home Team Achievement Award.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - They would get suggestions about popular supper places such as Simpang Bedok, but the group of seven people were not out for a meal. They received their information from inmates at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) who suggested places for the team to spread the anti-drug message through decals and brochures.

The Dadah itu Haram campaign secretariat has been spearheading efforts to spread the anti-drug message in the Malay-Muslim community here since April last year.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Monday (Sept 24) awarded the team, made up of officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), the Singapore Prison Service and the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Minister for Home Affairs Home Team Achievement Award.

The award recognises teams which have contributed exceptionally to Singapore's safety and security through inter-agency collaborations.

The 132 awards, given out at the Minister's Awards Presentation Ceremony at the Home Team Academy, included the Minister for Home Affairs Operational Excellence Awards, Star Service Awards and Home Team Innovation Awards.

Superintendent Saherly Limat, 45, who has been in the CNB for 20 years, said the seven-person team works with Malay-Muslim organisations such as Muis and Mendaki to solve the drug issue.

"For a team that is doing something soft in the sense that it's not the usual high-risk operations, to be able to achieve this is a morale-booster for us," he said.

Dadah itu Haram is Malay for "Drugs are forbidden". There is an over-representation of Malays among those jailed for drugs, and something needs to be done about it, said Superintendent Saherly.

The team speaks to DRC inmates to find out their interests and where they spend their free time. From the information, they identify groups they can work with to reach out to the community. These groups include students from the institutes of higher learning and riders from motorcycle clubs.

While there is no way to quantify the programme's tangible outcomes, surveys are being done to measure its effectiveness.

Mr Shanmugam said in his speech that the work of every single Home Team officer impacts how Singaporeans view the organisation, and how they feel about their own safety and security.

"Our people have confidence, and they must have confidence not just in the capabilities of the Home Team, but also in the professionalism and the fairness with which our officers discharge their duties," he said.

"That will then help to anchor the wider trust in the criminal justice system, in the Police force, our uniformed forces, SCDF, Prisons, CNB, the entire machinery, and ultimately Singapore itself."