KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s police are struggling to rein in drug abuse because there are many addicts on the force, the South-east Asian nation’s police chief said on Monday (July 29), with methamphetamine emerging as the main culprit.

Malaysia is a key transit point for the drug, the authorities say, with police in the past year seizing record amounts of crystal meth, or shabu as it is known domestically, with much of it coming from neighbouring Myanmar.

“We can see the number of addicts doubling,” Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador told reporters.

“Not only among ordinary people, but among my own men. Every week we have surfaced, arrested our own men high on meth, shabu, and all this.”

Police were taking action against the addicts on the force, but the problem was huge, he said, without elaborating.

“I do not see how we can effectively ensure that the drug threat in this country is under control,” he added.

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Malaysia’s anti-drug agency estimated the number of drug addicts at 25,267 last year, only a slight dip from 2017, but lower than the 2016 figure of nearly 31,000.

Nevertheless, Malaysia is considering dropping criminal penalties over small quantities of drugs intended for personal use. Fines and jail time currently await anyone found using drugs.

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