Masjid Maarof Family Week Event "Under the Influence: One Life, Drug Free" - Opening Remarks by Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development

Published: 21 November 2021

Ladies and gentlemen

1.   I am very happy to be here with you today, and representatives from Masjid Maarof who have worked with us from two years ago, and that we are able to work together with again this year. I also look forward to the sharing by the speakers on topics that will be useful to us.

2.   I am also grateful to Masjid Maarof and CNB for the collaboration in reaching out to the community and organising this meaningful event to share with our youths on the dangers of drug abuse. I would also like to specially mention our respected Mosque Chairman, Ustaz Hafizhuddin and his team, counsellor Ms Susanty binte Yaakop, and the team from CNB. Thank you.

3.   We also work with a few mosques – Masjid Darul Makmur works with us on some of these occasions, Masjid Maarof is our strong partner, and I think it is very fortunate to have this.

4.   I would also like to thank the participants for making time on Sunday to attend this event; both those who had made the effort to come to Masjid Maarof to attend the event in person and those who are attending virtually. Today, we also have students from Masjid Darul Makmur joining virtually, who are able to benefit from such an occasion.

5.   I would also like to show my appreciation to my good friend and our Dadah Itu Haram (DIH) influencer Dato’ Aaron Aziz, for your continuous and strong support for the anti-drug efforts, and for being an inspiration to many. I hope you continue to give us your fullest support and this is important in particular to the DIH campaign.

6.   Today’s sharing by the speakers will be very insightful and would allow us to understand the effects of drug abuse to oneself, our family, and the community. Ustaz Hafizhuddin will share on drug abuse from the perspective of Islam. A CNB officer will present on the dangers of drugs. Counsellor Ms Susanty will share on her personal experience on the topic.

7.   I would like to share the little that I know. With my colleagues, I have been visiting the prison often, before COVID-19 and even during COVID-19. I have had good interactions with our friends who are in prison and also those who are going through rehabilitation outside. Some of them often contact me via Facebook messenger or Instagram, and their family members also reach out to me.

8.   What I can see is that drugs really drag individuals, families, and society down. Just about a week ago, one former inmate who was previously incarcerated because of drugs, messaged me on Saturday morning via social media. He was asking for help because he felt that he was being dragged down by drugs. I tried to get him the support he needed. Increasingly, more and more in our community are coming forward to support, but the drag of drug addiction can not only be deep, but it can also drag you down very fast.

9.   So, with all these experiences that I saw during my interactions with them and their families, I am more determined than ever, together with my colleagues, to go upstream like what we are doing with DIH, so that they don’t have to go through the trouble of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is tough, and I do not want them to go to jail. Some thought that they can manage it; some said “I will just take it this time”. But the traffickers and syndicates will not stop, because there is a lot of money to be made from drug abusers. Once they get you, they won’t let you go. They will entice you with many more. For some, even though you may want to have just one or two, the traffickers are smart – they will persuade you to buy 10, because that is where they can make a lot of money, because they know you will get addicted. So, never ever be enticed when they tell you it will keep your problems away, it will help you to have a better, happier life.

10.   Those are all lies. The best thing to do is to have a drug-free life. That is why an occasion like this is very important, because each and every one of us, including myself, are ambassadors for the anti-drug campaign. This is very important.

11.   Even though there are those who may have the support and are able to do it, and I have seen quite a number who have been drug-free for 40 years, but it is a tough journey. Our efforts may take place behind closed doors, or in a hybrid setting like this. Other times, Saherly and team, together with me, with our volunteers, we will go down to the ground. We have been to neighbourhoods like Chong Pang, we have been to places like Kampung Glam and many other areas, and we want to do more. So, if you have the opportunity to reach out to people in your neighbourhood, I urge you to do so, because every single person that gets addicted to drugs, is one too many. Drugs not only affects that one person – it affects the family, community, and the society. I thank you for your support, for believing in this good effort, and I hope you will share this with your friends and families.

12.   And for all of us, we may have friends, relatives, who are affected by drug abuse. Do not be shy about it. What is key? Help them. What is key? Protect the younger generation. What is key also? Help the family. This is something that we must work together on.

13.   Today, from what we have seen, quite a large percentage of those who were arrested for the first time in the last few years are below 30 years old. That is why the youth group coming together today is even more important, as you can help to protect our young people in this area.

14.   I hope that the knowledge shared today will encourage all of you to stay away from drugs and to share the message with your loved ones.

15.   Most of you are now enjoying the school holidays, and we hope you will spend this time on meaningful activities to keep your mind and body healthy, and not indulge in negative activities or influences.

16.   While you take a break from school, do find time to read up on other subjects or topics, and share them with your friends and family members. Today’s sharing on the harmful effects of drugs is a good subject that you may want to find out more on and share with others. And I want to assure you, the people who hear you will thank you, because there is the possibility that they may come across drugs one day. But with your sharing, they will not only know that drugs are harmful, but they will also say no to drugs. The most important thing is to say no to drugs. That action will open up many more opportunities for a good life for you, and prevent you from being driven into the depths of troubles, unhappiness, destruction of families and your life. So while you take a break, it is important for you to engage in healthy activities.

17.   Especially in these times where information is readily available on the internet and social media, there are many falsehoods, myths and deceptions being circulated on drugs and other negative activities. Some of the falsehoods include the use of these drugs for medical purposes and are not backed by scientific data or research. However, we know that drug abuse causes harm to oneself and family.

18.   Therefore, my hope is for everyone to share what we have learnt today – particularly on the dangers of drug abuse – with your friends, families, and relatives.    Most importantly, look out for one another, “tengok-tengok”, and do not fall prey to the influence of drugs.

19.   In closing, I am very grateful for the support from our community partners such as Masjid Maarof and Masjid Darul Makmur in working together and supporting our work. I want to congratulate Masjid Maarof for taking the lead and proactively organising this e-family day. I think it is a showcase of community spirit, of wanting to bring people together. I must commend the leadership and all the volunteers, and I hope we can continue to work together along these aspects, and that we can continue to strengthen our partnership together. 

20.   Thank you for having me and my colleagues, and I look forward to the session.