BETONG, June 24 — Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today requested that the state Development Council hold more dialogues with the rural community to curb alcoholism and drug abuse in rural areas before they spiral out of control.
He said the problems are no longer confined to the urban centres, but have found their ways into the rural community from urban centres.
“The problems could be due to better standard of living of the rural people and better road links as the results of the government good policies,” he said when opening a dialogue between the longhouse residents and community leaders with the development council at Dau Gandau longhouse at Temedak, near here.
Uggah, who is also the state agriculture, native land and regional development, said with plenty of cash at the disposal due to the good prices of palm oil and pepper, the rural community could afford to do many things.
“This has led to alcoholism and now even drug and substance abuse among the youth.”
“This month, for instance, we had two fatal road accidents here involving youths who were said to be intoxicated,” he said.
Uggah said he wants the Social Development Council could help find ways and means to tackle these problems.
“I would suggest that the council could begin at primary school level with special anti-alcoholism and anti-drug abuse programmes.
“Let us indoctrinate the young minds to make them hate smoking, drug and substance abuse and excessive drinking.
“Similarly, among the very young children we should teach them to be aware of sexual abuse involving them and to report on any occurrence to the school or police authorities,” he said.
Uggah said another social problem that needed to be eradicated was teenage pregnancy.
“The problem is due to the lack of discipline and parental monitoring as well,” he said, adding that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state and federal lawmakers could assist in organising all the related eradication programmes.