PETALING JAYA: A call for the caning of drug addicts has prompted the founder of a rehabilitation facility to remind the public that drug addiction is a disease.
Yunus Pathi, who runs a private rehabilitation centre known as Pengasih, told FMT he was dismayed by Pasir Puteh MP Nik Mazian Mohamad’s suggestion that drug users be subjected to caning.
Nik Mazian, a member of PAS, made the suggestion in Parliament on Friday. According to him, addicts can’t take pain and would therefore be deterred by the threat of caning.
Yunus noted that the World Health Organisation had defined drug addiction as a disease and not a crime and that this was emphasised in a recent speech by the United Nations Secretary-General.
“We do not agree with the proposal to cane drug addicts,” Yunus said. “They need treatment and rehabilitation. You cannot cane a sick person.”
He said Nik Mazian’s call was disconcerting because public support was essential in encouraging drug addicts to kick their habit.
“We must send drug addicts to treatment with care and love, and the public needs to continue showing them support after they are rehabilitated and reintroduced to society.”
Pengasih is the only rehabilitation centre in Malaysia which is wholly operated by former drug users. Yunus has 26 years of experience in rehabilitating addicts. -FMT