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09 August 2005

Award of Meritorious Service Medal(Posthumous)(Pingat Jasa Gemilang), 9 August 2005

The Government has awarded the late Mr Harun Bin Abdul Ghani the Meritorious Service Medal (Posthumous) (Pingat Jasa Gemilang) for his significant contributions in community work, specifically in the prevention of drug abuse and rehabilitation of ex-drug addicts.

2 Mr Harun Ghani served as the Political Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs from 1989 to 2001. He was a Member of Parliament for Hong Kah Group Representative Constituency. Even before entering political office, Mr Harun Ghani was an active volunteer in community work. Then a teacher in Tun Seri Lanang Secondary School, he was awarded the Efficiency Medal in 1980 and the Public Service Medal (Pingat Bakti Masyarakat) in 1985.

3 Mr Harun Ghani played a pivotal role in the setting up of drug rehabilitation facilities in the Malay/Muslim community at a time when the drug abuse problem in the community was very serious. He was instrumental in the setting of Malay/Muslim halfway houses by Pertapis and Bawean Putra. Not only did he give guidance in the establishment, management and administration of these institutions and the development of their drug rehabilitation programmes, he was also personally involved in galvanising support in the form of financial contributions to fund and support these institutions and programmes.

4 Over the past 15 years, Mr Harun Ghani was tireless in his efforts to raise the awareness of the drug problem not just for the youth of the Malay/Muslim community, but for all who might be at risk in society. He started the Meet-the-Family sessions at the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) in 1995 which sought to develop family support to assist the recovery of ex-addicts. In a speech in 2001, Mr Harun expressed concern that:

"Family members have to suffer the pain of watching their loved ones being ruined by drugs. It slowly but surely tears families apart."

His Meet-the-Family programme has since become a staple and critical feature of the rehabilitation strategy for ex-drug addicts and ex-criminals in SCORE today.

5 Not only did he contribute his own time and efforts, Mr Harun Ghani also galvanized community leaders and popular public personalities to join in the fight against drugs. He persuaded many to volunteer at the Drug Rehabilitation Centres (DRCs) to counsel addicts. He set an example by frequently undertaking counselling sessions of drug inmates and ex-addicts himself, at times at coffee shops to counsel drug addicts and their families, often giving financial aid out of his own pocket.

6 His efforts have laid the foundation upon which others have built on and contributed significantly to Singapore's successful management of the drug menace and the sharp decline in drug abuse, especially in the Malay/Muslim community, today.

"Our children do not turn delinquent overnight. Teachers and parents should keep a lookout for telltale signs, counsel and take other prompt action before it is too late. This extra effort is worthwhile. That chance to make a difference in a youngster's life is open to all of us if we care enough to look closely at the young people under our charge."

Mr Harun Ghani, in a speech to school principals in year 2000
at a seminar on " involvement of youths in crime and drugs"

9 AUGUST 2005

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