KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Kelantan’s high incidence of HIV and Aids cases is because it borders Thailand, where drugs and prostitutes are easily available, a PAS MP said last night when defending his party’s administration.
According to Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abd Aziz, Kelantan differs from other Thailand-bordering states such as Kedah, Perlis and Perak, due to its proximity to Golok across the border, which he said is infamous for its sex trade.
“If we see the bordering states, where are the Thai bordering towns famous for prostitution? Is there any in Kedah? In Perlis?
“There are, but not as ‘great’ as Kelantan,” said the Pasir Mas MP in a forum discussing the limits of state powers and personal freedom.
Golok, known as Sungai Kolok in Thai, is a town in Thailand’s Narathiwat Province that borders Kelantan’s Rantau Panjang. It is separated by the Golok River, which gave it its name.
Golok, which is about a 40 minute-drive away from Kota Baru, is known for shopping and its nightlife, which includes its red light district.
Nik Abduh said the PAS-led state government is aware of the problem, and have sought help from Putrajaya to curb the case, even through its MPs in the Parliament.
“If you say that Kelantan has no idea, we have racked our brains on how to educate Kelantan folks to reduce HIV cases,” said the PAS central committee member.
“If you are unsatisfied with it, please help Kelantan. But you will not see a better help than the laws that the federal government can enforce.”
Kelantan has the second highest HIV cases in the country, according to the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) in September this year as quoted by Malay daily Utusan Malaysia.
MAF secretary-general Hisham Hussein said there were 207 new cases in the Muslim-majority state, out of the 3,393 total cases in Malaysia.
Hisham said HIV incidence in the state is 28.8 cases for every 100,000 in the population, which was double of Malaysia’s total incidence.