Serious Alcohol and Gum Addiction Among Orang Asli in Lubuk Legong, Baling

Tok Batin Razali bin Kulim from Kampung Lubuk Legong, Baling, Kedah: showing the alcohol sold illegally and the glue sold.

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) urges the Baling District Council (MDB) in the state of Kedah to investigate and take immediate action on a sundry shop owner in Kampung Lalang, Ulu Legong who is selling alcohol illegally to the Orang Asli community in the area.

These activities have been going on for some time, but no action has been taken by the authorities. This has led to an increasing number of children and women in the community to become addicted to alcohol. In addition to alcohol, they are also involved in glue sniffing.

CAP’s survey found that besides adults, more than 30 children between the ages of 9 to 15 years old drinking alcohol and sniffing glue bought from a shop in Kampung Lalang here.

There are also outsiders who come to Kampung Lubuk Legong, an Orang Asli village here to sell these illicit materials to the community here at a price of RM5.00 per can of glue and RM5.00 for a bottle of alcohol. Individuals who sniff glue and addicted to alcohol spend around RM25.00 per person per day.

CAP is concerned with this issue because not only laws are being violated but it is wasteful and has serious impacts on health of the addicts.

Drinking alcohol and alcoholism can cause a person to suffer from high blood pressure, nervous system disorders, damages liver, pancreas, muscle, bone, intestinal bleeding, ulceration and death of brain cells.

While those who sniff glue will suffer brain, liver, kidney and heart damages. If this practice continues for more than six months, it can cause permanent brain damage. In the year 2000, three teenagers aged between 18 and 20 years had died near a school in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur due to glue sniffing.

Hence CAP urges the government to give serious attention to this problem as it not only affects health but also causes death. Moreover these harmful activities involve children, adolescents and women.

The Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK), Penghulu, District Officer, relevant Ministries, Departments, Police and government agencies should take concerted action in an effort to curb these social problems that is becoming more serious.

In addition to law enforcement against those who were found guilty, awareness programmes about the adverse effects of alcohol and glue sniffing should be conducted actively and widely among the masses.

Media Statement, 14 December 2016