Brunei commits to drug-free ASEAN

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam is committed to supporting both regional and international efforts towards realising the vision of a ‘Drug Free ASEAN’.

This was stated by Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof as Chairman of the National Security Committee at the virtual 7th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (AMMD) at the International Convention Centre, Berakas yesterday.

The meeting was chaired by Cambodia’s National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) Vice-Chairman General Chuon Sovan, and attended by ministers and heads of delegation from ASEAN member states responsible for drug matters and the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN. It commenced with an opening ceremony officiated by Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and NACD Chairman General Ke Kim Yan.

At the plenary session, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi shared the Sultanate’s efforts in combatting new and emerging trends in illicit drug trafficking especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

From a regional standpoint, the minister highlighted the need for ASEAN to remain committed in adopting a zero-tolerance approach towards illicit drugs. In this regard, ASEAN should not allow any obstacles to distract its collective efforts to protect the people, especially the youth, from the threat of illicit drugs.

The ministers and heads of delegation from ASEAN member states also agreed to adopt the chairman’s statement which among others, reaffirmed ASEAN’s resolute stand against the legalisation of illicit drugs for non-medical and non-scientific use, and urged the international community to uphold the provisions of the international drug control conventions.

Permanent Secretary (Security, Enforcement and Law) at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dato Paduka Haji Sufian bin Haji Sabtu and Director of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Dato Paduka Mohd Zalani bin Haji Ismail as well as senior officers from the PMO and the NCB also attended.

The 8th AMMD will be hosted by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 2023.