Published: 09 October 2022
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Thank you for joining us this afternoon. The Dadah Itu Haram (DIH) campaign was started in April 2017, to raise awareness within the Malay/Muslim community that drugs are forbidden in Islam, and to share the importance of living a healthy, drug-free life.
2. DIH has made significant progress. We have more than 230 volunteers and over 340 organisations on board the campaign, to co-create and co-deliver DIH programmes and initiatives with CNB.
3. We have organised more than 140 DIH events since 2017.
4. The past two years have been challenging, but you have continued to support the campaign to ensure that the message gets out to the community.
5. Take Mr Saini, for example, one of DIH’s strong supporters.
(a) He is a 47-year-old technician with SMRT. Mr Saini joined the DIH campaign in 2018 and has been an active volunteer since.
(b) A well-known figure in the bikers community –that is the first thing I knew about him when I first met him. Mr Saini would rally fellow bikers to spread the DIH message by distributing anti-drug collaterals at DIH touchpoints, like barbershops and eateries.
(c) He also regularly takes part in the Friday Prayer engagement sessions with us.
(d) Mr Saini also joined other efforts that we rolled out. And I really want to thank him, I also want to thank you, because as I said, there are many Mr Saini, among us. But now, we would like to thank Mr Saini, for his dedication and support for our efforts.
Progress of DIH
6. The campaign has made significant progress in the past five years.
7. A recent survey that we conducted shows high awareness of, participation in, and engagement with the campaign.
8. One notable progress is getting all 71 mosques to support the DIH campaign. Today, all 71 mosques display the DIH banners and standees within their premises.
9. Some of the mosques have also co-organised DIH events with CNB.
10. One example is Maarof Mosque, which co-organised the first Youth-Outreach event with CNB in December last year.
11. During the event, Ustaz Muhd Hafiizhudiin shared why Islam forbids drug abuse, a CNB officer shared his experience dealing with drug abusers, and an ex-drug abuser shared her experience recovering from drug abuse.
12. These are especially important for our youths to hear.
13. The Office of Mufti has also been supporting DIH since 2017, through Friday Prayer sermons on the harms of drug abuse, on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking every year.
14. Each time we do this, we reach out to more than 80,000 Muslims in Singapore.
15. I sincerely want to thank Muis, for partnering us in our fight against drug abuse.
Progress of MM Community
16. We have also put in significant efforts to support our inmates, ex-offenders, and their families.
17. As a result, we have made significant progress in combating drugs, and in preventing offending and reoffending.
(a) The Malay recidivism rate for the 2019 release cohort was 26.0%, a significant improvement when compared to the 2015 release cohort, which had a recidivism rate of 33.5%.
(b) The number of Malay abusers arrested in 2021 fell to 1,282, from 1,618 in 2017.
(c) The volunteer to inmate ratio improved from 1:27 in 2017, to 1:9 in 2021. This is a very significant improvement.
18. These achievements were possible only because of the strong support from the community, and leading these efforts is the Malay/Muslim Organisation Rehabilitation Network that we have developed and will continue to strengthen.
19. Formed in November 2021 the MMO Rehabilitation Network is made up of 26 MMOs and 11 M3@towns.
20. The MMO Rehabilitation Network works with MHA to help spread anti-drug messages, conduct rehabilitation programmes for offenders, and provide support to ex-offenders and their families.
21. Most recently, the Network came together to distribute korban meat and DIH collaterals to families of offenders during the Hari Raya Haji period. It was very well-organised.
22. I want to give you an example. Mdm N and her family were assisted by the Network.
(a) Mdm N and her husband have been incarcerated many times, mostly for drug offences.
(b) Their son is currently incarcerated for drug offences as well. He was exposed to drugs at a young age. His sister started to display behavioural problems in school, due to the lack of parental guidance.
23. You can see how a family can be destroyed by drug abuse.
24. Organisations from the Network were alerted to the case, when Mdm N was emplaced on the Singapore Prison Service’s Community-Based Programme, and began supporting Mdm N and her family.
25. They helped mend the relationship between Mdm N and her children, and provided her with support to desist from drugs.
26. The mosques also came in to provide the family with financial support.
27. Today, Mdm N has completed her Community-Based Programme and her relationship with her children has improved.
28. She visits her son in the DRC regularly and is determined to support him when he is eventually released.
29. I am thankful for the Network coming together towards a common cause – to uplift the MM community.
Work to Address Upcoming Challenge
30. Let me next share on our work to address upcoming challenges.
31. Singapore’s stand on drug abuse is very clear – we adopt a zero-tolerance stance. However, global developments have made our approach more challenging.
32. The media’s portrayal of drug abuse and the increased push by other countries to adopt more liberal drug policies, may influence our young to also have more liberal attitudes towards drugs.
33. Look at what’s happening in Thailand.
34. Thailand decided to allow cannabis for purported medical use. But it has led to chaos and confusion. Now, cannabis products are easily accessible – in ice-creams, coffees, Thai food, all under the guise of “health products”.
35. Doctors are protesting and asking for the legalisation of cannabis use to be suspended, and the Medical Council of Thailand has issued a warning against the use of cannabis in food and snacks.
36. The government is now trying to put in additional regulations to control the use of cannabis. Will it work? Will it be effective? I am not sure.
37. This is a lesson and a reminder for Singapore. We must never go down this path.
38. We cannot be complacent.
39. The profile of new drug abusers continues to be of concern.
(a) 60% of new drug abusers arrested are below the age of 30, and
(b) 39% of new abusers arrested are Malays.
40. We need more organisations and individuals to come forward to lend their support, resources, and voices, to amplify the DIH message.
41. However, support need not be in the form of an event. We can all do our part to amplify the DIH message by creating more DIH advocates. The more DIH advocates we have, the better.
42. Let us start at home, with our family and friends. I believe the impact can be significant.
43. The community and volunteers play a key role in supporting the DIH campaign and in uplifting the Malay/Muslim community.
44. My sincere thanks to all of you, our partners and volunteers, for walking this journey with us.