Taking anti-drug message to the supper crowd

Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin (standing, second from left) and volunteers, including Hairul Marvin (left in green), 17, giving out anti-drug stickers to patrons in Simpang Bedok yesterday.
Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin (standing, second from left) and volunteers, including Hairul Marvin (left in green), 17, giving out anti-drug stickers to patrons in Simpang Bedok yesterday.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Campaign to fight drug abuse among Malays extends to popular Muslim-owned or halal eateries

Over 50 Muslim-owned or halal-certified supper outlets, with more than 200 food stalls among them, have joined a push to spread the anti-drug message to young patrons.

The eateries include Spize, Alwadi, Al-Ameen Eating Corner and Mr Teh Tarik Eating House and they see some 10,000 customers on a typical weekend night.

Yesterday, more than 70 volunteers joined Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin in distributing anti-drug stickers and posters during a supper hop to some of the eateries.

This marked the launch of a Super Supper partnership, as part of the "Dadah Itu Haram" (drugs are forbidden) campaign that started in April. Among those spearheading the initiative are the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association, Muhammadiyah Welfare Home, Safinah Institute, SimplyIslam and Riders Group.

"We need to start by focusing on our upstream intervention," said Mr Amrin on dealing with drug abuse among youth.

Malays account for more than half of the drug abusers arrested last year, up from 32 per cent in 2006. Last year, 1,700 Malays were arrested for drug-related offences, compared with 1,380 in 2010.

The number of new Malay offenders rose from about 590 in 2010 to nearly 730 last year, and 20 per cent of them were below the age of 20.

  • 1,700

    Number of Malays arrested for drug-related offences last year.

  • 1,380

    Number of Malays arrested for drug-related offences in 2010.

"This is not a race issue, but we do see a higher proportion of minorities being affected... and it's something that we have to be realistic about," Mr Amrin told reporters, adding that those spreading the anti-drug message have to also "be where the people are".

"We have to make sure that the message gets sent across in a manner that people can relate to."

Owners of participating eateries told The Straits Times that the campaign was a chance for them to do their part for the community.

Mr Shahid Javaid, 43, who runs Usman's Place in Simpang Bedok, said that the trend of new, young drug offenders is worrying. "We should try to help the youth, and encourage them not to go for drugs. I want to be part of this effort," he said.

Said the father of four , whose children are aged four to 18: "I have children as well, and I want them to have positive influences within the community."

Mr Mohamed Jalal, 53, owner of Al-Ameen Eating Corner in Woodlands, said that about 80 per cent of his patrons are Muslim youth aged between 18 and 35. "As we are doing business near Republic Polytechnic, many youngsters come here for supper," he said.

While eateries like his can play a part, he added: "We can only advise them. They are young adults, and at the end of the day, they have to make their own decisions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'Taking anti-drug message to the supper crowd'. Print Edition | Subscribe