Questioning Malaysia`s commitment to fighting drugs

Questioning Malaysia`s commitment to fighting drugs

In the picture is drugs seized by Indonesian police. (ANTARA News/Anita Permata Dewi)

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - Over the past two months, officers of the Indonesian police, navy, and National Narcotics Agency (BNN) have repeatedly thwarted several attempts to smuggle crystal methamphetamine from Malaysia.

The law enforcers` success in foiling smuggling attempts is highly lauded, as it has saved millions of Indonesians from being trapped in a vicious cycle of addictive drugs, which potentially ruin the country`s working-age population.

Malaysia has constantly been on the radar following crackdown by Indonesian law enforcers on transnational drug traffickers during which several of their couriers confessed to carrying crystal meth from the neighboring country.

Last August, for instance, the BNN personnel arrested Syafwadi for his alleged role as a drug courier for drug dealer Ibrahim, alias Hongkong, former legislator at Langkat District`s legislative body representing the National Democrat Party (Nasdem) faction.

According to Deputy of the BNN Drug Control Inspector General Arman Depari, the suspect delivered the crystal meth that he had smuggled from the Malaysian city of Penang to the middle of the sea along with another suspect named Daus.

Syafwadi confessed to the agency`s investigators that he had delivered packs of crystal meth four times as requested by Ibrahim.

"For each delivery that Syafwadi made, he received Rp80 million (US$1=Rp14,642)," he quoted the suspect`s confession as saying.

During the raids conducted in an area of Aceh Province and a small town of Pangkalan Susu, North Sumatra Province, on Aug 19 and Aug 20, members of the Langkat BNN, customs agency, and the navy`s joint team seized 105 kilograms of crystal meth.

Apart from the crystal meth, packed in three rice sacks, they also confiscated 30 thousand ecstasy pills.

On August 30, 2018, the West Kalimantan police and BNN officers had also foiled another transnational drug ring`s smuggling attempt after arresting two other suspects, only identified as Bay and RS, shortly after leaving the Pontianak Prison.

The local police and BNN investigators conducted a probe into the case. As a result, four of the five suspects were apprehended, while the other one, identified as a Nigerian national, escaped, Chief of West Kalimantan Province`s Police Inspector General Didi Haryono stated.

The four suspects were all Indonesian nationals. During the joint operation, the law enforcers also confiscated a total of 916.47 grams of crystal meth, more than Rp165 million, Sing$3,000, and 7,000 Malaysian ringgit, he noted.

Rian Pandu Saputra, one of the arrested suspects, was a drug convict, who had been serving life sentence at the Pontianak Penitentiary of Class II A for smuggling 17 kilograms of crystal meth, he stated.

The three other suspects were only identified as RBS, Za, and Hen, Za`s wife. Each of them played a different role. RBS was a courier of the 916.47 grams of smuggled crystal meth, while Za was a drug dealer, and his wife, Hen, functioned as a treasurer.

Another success story of the Indonesian law enforcers in foiling an attempt to smuggle drugs from Malaysia was circulated among the country`s mainstream and news portal media on Thursday (Sept. 14).

An attempt to smuggle 67.42 kilograms of crystal meth from Malaysia was thwarted owing to the professionalism of the Indonesian Navy`s Western Fleet Quick Response Unit in Lhokseumawe, Aceh Province.

The smuggling attempt could be foiled as a result of sound collaboration between the intelligence officers of the Main Naval Base I and their colleagues from the Lhokseumawe Naval Base, Western Fleet Chief Rear Admiral Yudo Margono remarked.

The navy`s intelligence officers were also convinced after receiving tip-offs from several local fishermen on Tuesday that a suspected speedboat coming from the Malaysian island of Penang might enter the Seruwei waters, he revealed.

Based on the given information, two navy personnel were deployed to launch a surveillance operation in the Seruwei waters on Thursday at around 6:15 a.m. local time.

Some 30 minutes later, they spotted a speedboat in the waters of Alur Kuala Peunanga Lama of Aceh Tamiang District, Aceh Province, but the two people on board refused to stop when ordered to do so.

Hence, the navy officers fired a warning shot thrice to stop them. Instead of surrendering, they attempted to escape to a beach, he noted, adding that the two suspects jumped to land and fled to a wooded area, Margono revealed.

The on-duty personnel then checked the abandoned boat and found two large bags containing 62 packs of crystal meth weighing 67.4 kilograms.

Recurring cases of drug smuggling in which the arrested traffickers have frequently confessed to Malaysia`s involvement come as no surprise for the Indonesian law enforcers.

Due to this factual reality, Indonesia has repeatedly lodged protests with Malaysia over the influx of drugs, smuggled from the neighboring country into the Indonesian territory.

Nonetheless, drug smuggling activities continue unabated. Hence, Deputy of the BNN Drug Control Inspector General Arman Depari has also questioned Malaysia`s commitment and capability in combating this sort of transnational crime in the Southeast Asian region.

"My conclusion is that perhaps, the Malaysian law enforcers are not capable of or lack the commitment to fighting drug abuse. This is my note," he remarked at an event held in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, last year.

This reality seems to remain a paradox within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as the regional grouping`s member countries had also signed the Joint Declaration for a Drug-free ASEAN by 2020.

Instead of achieving the goal of the declaration on a drug-free ASEAN, the collaborative efforts of the ASEAN member countries to combat cross-border drug-related crimes, as revealed in the Malaysian case, remain under question.

Editing by Rahmad Nasution