Indonesia in a state of drug emergency: minister

Indonesia in a state of drug emergency: minister

Indonesian social affairs minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa (ANTARA FOTO/Sigid Kurniawan)

Sampit, C Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa has reiterated that Indonesia is currently in a state of drug emergency.

"We are very concerned about the present condition. The number of drug users in 2015 has reached 4.5 million people and is showing an increasing trend every year," the minister stated here, Monday.

This year, the government has planned to rehabilitate 100 thousand drug users.

The government spent Rp50 trillion to deal with drug offenses last year.

Drug abuse has grave implications, and therefore, it should be addressed seriously. Drugs can cause physiological and even mental problems.

The government imposes a heavy penalty, notably capital punishment, to fight drug offenses.

In the meantime, the Indonesian government will go ahead with the implementation of death penalty on major drug offenders, despite protests from the governments of Australia and Brazil, Vice President Jusuf M. Kalla noted.

"We have reiterated many times that we are a sovereign nation and will carry out the executions. Remember that the death penalty is based on a court verdict and is not a presidential instruction," Kalla remarked in Jakarta, Monday.

Kalla said he understood if a country lodges a strong protest over the execution of its citizen. He pointed out that Indonesia had also protested when its citizens were about to be executed in other countries.

However, he was of the viewpoint that the diplomatic incident, in which Brazil delayed the acceptance of credentials of Indonesias designated ambassador, was unnecessary.

"The executions will be held at the right time," he noted.

Taking a firm stance against drug dealers in January, the government of President Joko Widodo recently executed six convicted drug dealers on death row.

Besides one of its own citizens, the convicts were from Malawi, Nigeria, Vietnam, Brazil, and the Netherlands. The executions prompted Brazil and the Netherlands to recall their ambassadors in protest.

The government will soon execute 11 other convicts sentenced to death, including nine drug convicts, two of whom are Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran from Australia.

The two Australians were members of the "Bali Nine" drug ring, a group of drug traffickers who were arrested on April 17, 2005, in Bali while attempting to smuggle out 8.3 kilograms of heroin worth Rp40 billion to Australia.