Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) emphasized that Indonesia is one of the countries victimized by illegal drug trafficking from abroad and expressed concern over the huge number of drug addicts in the country.

At a limited cabinet meeting in September 2015, President Jokowi reminded that Indonesia was facing a major challenge of drug abuse due to which the country had witnessed 50 drug-related deaths every day.

"We are entering a state of drug emergency that has to be dealt with seriously," the president stated.

Drug smuggling has also shown an upward trend as indicated by the significant number of attempts being foiled by the authorities. On Friday (Feb 23), Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Muyani Indrawati expressed concern over the influx of illegal drugs into the country.

Indonesia`s customs agency, in cooperation with other related agencies, has thwarted attempts to smuggle as much as five tons of methamphetamine.

"Just two months into 2018, a total of 2.9 tons of methamphetamine was confiscated in 57 cases," Minister Mulyani noted in Jakarta on Friday.

The quantity of narcotics seized over the past two months was much more than that confiscated last year, she emphasized.

In 2017, the customs agency had foiled 342 attempts to smuggle meth, involving a total of 2.132 tons of drugs.

"This implies that Indonesia has been flooded by narcotic drugs. I am very sad to see such a huge quantity of meth meant to be smuggled into Indonesia," Mulyani remarked, adding that the huge quantity indicating that there was a large market for the drug in the country.

On the same day on Friday, the authority again foiled another attempt to smuggle three tons of meth. Thus, in two months this year, the agency had foiled attempts to smuggle some five tons of meth.

Customs and Excise patrols seized a Taiwanese-flagged ship from Myanmar in the territorial waters between Singapore and Indonesia on Friday (Feb 23). A total of three tons of meth was confiscated from the ship.

House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo said the attempts to smuggle large quantities of drugs repeatedly into the country had reached an unprecedented level.

"I urge the police to thoroughly investigate the syndicates of drug networks operating in Indonesia," Soesatyo noted in a written statement in Jakarta on Saturday.

Soesatyo made the statement in response to the attempt to smuggle in three tons of meth aboard a Taiwanese-flagged fishing boat from Myanmar in the waters of the Riau Islands of Sumatra.

This attempt to smuggle a huge quantity of meth was thwarted by the Riau Islands Customs Team. Soesatyo also lauded the Riau Islands Customs Team that had successfully thwarted the efforts to smuggle three tons of meth, locally known as sabu-sabu.

According to the House Speaker, the information was provided by the Chinese intelligence to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) as disclosed by Head of BNN Com. Gen Budi Waseso proved true. According to the information, about five tons of meth worth Rp10 trillion was to be smuggled into Indonesian waters.

The first attempt to smuggle one ton of the illegal drug was foiled in the waters of Batam, Riau Island Province. The second consignment of 1.6 tons was also seized in the waters of Batam last week, and the third catch of three tons was confiscated on Friday (Feb 23) in the waters of Batam Island.

Hence, Soesatyo called on the police to take legal action, not only against the crew members who served only as couriers but also against drug lords.

"Legal action must be taken not only against the crew members but also against those behind the syndicate," Soesatyo emphasized.

According to Soesatyo, based on intelligence information obtained from the Head of BNN Waseso, it was suspected that about 600 tons of raw materials to make high-quality shabu was ready to be smuggled into the territory of Indonesia and the end product was worth about Rp1,200 trillion, or almost half of Indonesia`s total state budget.

"Some 600 tons of drug were last spotted around the waters of Timor Leste, but the satellite lost track of it," he stated.

Soesatyo also reminded that the Indonesian Defense Forces, National Police, BNN, and Customs Office should not become complacent after the recent achievements in foiling the attempts, but they should remain on alert.

According to BNN`s data, the number of drug addicts in Indonesia continues to grow. In 2008, the number of drug addicts was pegged at 3.3 million. It rose to four million in 2011, and in 2015, it was to touch 5.1 million.

Based on a survey conducted by the BNN and the University of Indonesia, about 70 percent of drug addicts belong to the younger generation.


Reporter: Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2018