On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Driving hard to curb social woes

Dr Ling held their attention further when  he narrated a recent visit to a disco in
Kuala  Lumpur to see for himself the
influence of  Ecstasy pills on

“The speakers in were big and loud. Its 
boom, boom, boom all the time (referring to  techno music).

“Everything shakes, the floor shakes, the 
youngsters shake their heads and backsides,'' he said, drawing laughter
from the  audience.

There was laughter again as Dr Ling assured the listeners that he was at the
disco  to personally see the situation
and “not to  drink or dance.''

The seriousness of the situation was underlined when Dr Ling warned the people
of  the consequence of such social
ills  a generation of Chinese youths
would be lost.

The implications are greater considering 
that the Chinese population is declining,  with most newly-wed Chinese couples
preferring to have only one or two children.

“We cannot have young people returning 
home at 6am or 7am and expect them to be 
productive at work or at school,'' Dr Ling  said.

His advice to errant businessmen is 
“make your money from other trades.'' 
Don't destroy the young which may include  their own children.

His concern is understandable. Besides 
health problems, especially among long term Ecstasy pill takers, a
myriad of social  woes will follow.

For the past few weeks, Dr Ling's main 
message when addressing the Chinese community is: let's fight the
scourge of Ecstasy  pills and
horse-racing slot machines together.

Travelling around the country, he has 
urged grassroots leaders to take on these  problems.

In urban areas, the concern of the party is 
Chinese youths taking Ecstasy pills at discos  while in small towns and villages, it is
the  draw of gaming machines.

It has been estimated that Chinese youths 
make up 90% of Ecstasy pill takers and 
those who gamble away on slot machines.

Dr Ling said the police had been ordered 
to clamp down on those who sell Ecstasy 
pills or operate the machines.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee 
Heung, who heads the MCA social problems 
committee, has been given the task to tackle  these problems.

So far, the results have been encouraging. 
In Raub and Kuantan, for example, a total of  481 slot machines had been sealed.

The next step is to make sure that these 
outlets stay closed. It is meaningless if the  gaming machines reappear when the heat  dissipates.

If villagers suspect the involvement of police officers and the local
authorities in  abetting gaming-machine
operators, then  they should lodge
reports with the Anti-Corruption Agency or alert the media.

The public can also write directly to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri
Norian  Mai if they feel that enforcement
is slack in  their village or town.

These social problems have reached a level where drastic action is

A follow-up awareness campaign in the 
form of messages in videos and a road show  will boost the party's efforts further.

The MCA could organise exhibitions to inform the public about the harmful
effects of  Ecstasy pills and what can be
done to stop  this menace.

Closing down discos, night-spots and cybercafes is not the answer  proper enforcement by the authorities is more

For example, there are limited forms of 
entertainment and no discos in PAS-controlled Kelantan but the state has
one of the  highest number of drug abuse
and AIDs  cases.

Too much control, as everyone knows, can 
be bad. The only source of entertainment 
left for the young in Kelantan appears to be  infamous Golok  which is hardly recommended.

If the MCA, with the support of the authorities and the public, continues to
sustain  the momentum of its campaign
against Ecstasy pills and gaming machines, the battle  can be won.

These two concerns should be seen from a 
broader perspective. If left unchecked, the  rot will eventually spread to the other