MZ Academy “Dad’s Junior” Event - Closing Address by Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development

Published: 12 December 2021

1.    Thank you for conducting this special and meaningful programme, that not only provides an opportunity to learn new skills, but also enhances the bond between father and child. I also want to thank all our friends and those who are here to share and raise awareness about drug addiction.

2.    Today, if you look at the profile of people who abuse drugs, you will likely see that many of them are below 30 years old, including first time arrestees. As such, it is important for us to share these anti-drug messages with the community and with families, as the family plays an important role.

3.    We have people who have gone through it, and I want to thank them for having the courage to share their experience. After they have been released, some of may not share about it. I am glad that we have people like Riduan, and others, who are willing to come forward and share, so that they can help others avoid going in that direction.

4.    Today, there is a more liberalised view about drugs. One of the key reasons, is money. There are syndicates –the more they sell, the more money they get. There are also drug companies. And today’s drug companies are like cigarette companies – the more cigarettes they sell, the more money they get. So, it is in their interest to lobby governments around the world; they say it is okay to take drugs because they have medicinal properties. They have their self-interest. Once people take drugs, you can see how they suffer. And it is not only them who suffer in the prison, but also, their family.

5.    Many of them shared with me that once they get into trouble, their friends who sold to them, friends who were close to them, friends who abused drugs together with them, all disappeared. For some, their parents were the ones who also took drugs. On Friday, I met someone who shared with me that he used to quarrel with everyone when he was taking drugs and selling drugs. He said that he became very selfish, and had felt that everybody was wrong and only he was right. So, he kept fighting and quarrelling with his mother. But when he went in, he realised that his mother was the only one who came to visit him.

6.    So, it is a clear lesson for us about how we must continue to strengthen our families. Today, what you do with your child, what you do with your dad, means a lot. Sometimes, we are so close but yet so far. We eat together, but we may not have a chance to speak as often or may not be as frank. But actually, the people who will care about you will be your parents or your child. We must not forget that. 

7.    On Thursday morning, I went to an exhibition where a group of children made pottery to showcase the feelings they experience while their parents are in prison. One of the pieces was a plate, which included a sunny side up egg and some rice – the child missed having a meal with her father. So, for all of us who have the opportunity to have meals with our parents and our children, treasure it. These kids, they long to have a meal with their parents.

8.    For the fathers here, take the opportunity during the meal to talk about issues, and bond. At the same time, you can remind your kids about the dangers of drugs, remind them about continuing with their education and studying hard. Mealtime is very important. Eat together, and once in a while, you can cook for your father, or fathers can cook for your children. For me, every morning, I make coffee for my family. I enjoy doing it, and I do it even if I have an event early in the morning, because to me, that is important. While I enjoy doing it, it is also about love, and about care. My family has different needs, some of them can only drink decaffeinated coffee, some ask for less sugar. I specifically bought decaffeinated coffee just for that person so that the whole family can enjoy coffee together, and I also make an effort to make the coffee less sweet. It is the act of doing it that is the most important.

9.    After this session, I hope that you will continue with this journey and enjoy the journey. It is about relationship building. Nobody will be spared from challenges. When you face challenges, you will be able to address it together. In this way, we will never be alone in our journey, as we will have our family members with us.

10.   Today, it is more challenging, as kids like you, like my children, get information from the internet and social media. Parents may not be as savvy with this. But when you have love, it will keep your family stable, and when there are negative influences, you will know what to do.

11.   I also want to commend the Ustazah, Ustaz, families, the staff, CNB colleagues and our honoured chefs for coming together to do this today, and I hope that we will continue to engage and provide platforms to better the lives of our people.

12.   We are gaining momentum. Whenever CNB makes arrests, there will be many people who write to me to commend CNB because they know drugs are harmful.

13.   Another aspect of what we do is expanding the message of “Dadah Itu Haram”. I want to thank my predecessor too, for doing this, because it is a good theme that they have developed and we continue to build on the good work that they have done.

14.   The journey continues because as I speak, as we try our best to get people to stay away from drugs, those syndicates and people who are selling, trafficking, and pushing drugs are also working hard to make sure they have customers who patronise them. We must not give them the opportunity. So remember, if your friends tell you “if you eat this, you will become smarter”, you can be sure that it will have a harmful effect on you, and negative long-lasting effects on your body and your life.

15.   Thank you to all of you. Some of you have been supporting our efforts, and I want to thank you and encourage you to share this with others. We are not alone in this, we have one another as partners to fight this menace of drug abuse. Thank you for having me this afternoon and for sharing your perspectives and experiences as someone who has gone through this. I thank you and I wish you a great day ahead, and may your family be strengthened so that you can have a better life ahead. Thank you.