Tue, 09 Nov 1999

Character building to fight drug abuse

YOGYAKARTA: Minister of National Education Yahya Muhaimin said here on Monday that a character building campaign would be launched among students in a bid to prevent drug abuse in their age group.

Speaking to journalists when visiting Taman Siswa Educational Foundation, Yahya said that the campaign would target school children and university students.

The focus of the campaign is a development of morality through, among other things, television programs, he said.

He said he believed that character building would work to fight drug abuse at all school-age levels, ranging from school children to university students.

Meanwhile, a large number of supporters of the Yogyakarta chapter of the National Mandate Party (PAN) rallied on Monday to express their skepticism about the police handling of drug- related cases.

Assembling at the Yogyakarta Police Headquarters, the protesters, who claimed to represent the Masyarakat PAN Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta PAN community), said they supported the police's efforts to fight any form of drug deals.

"But frankly speaking, we are skeptical about the police's seriousness in dealing with narcotic-related cases. We assume that police are just capable of arresting drug suspects, while the next legal process is usually vague," said Heru Purwadi, a spokesman for the protesters who met with detective chief Lt. Col. Toto Sunyoto.

Heru also said there was an impression among people that the police played a role in the illicit narcotics business, with many officers backing the business.

Heru said six police officers were recently arrested after they were found taking shabu-shabu (crystal metamphetamine). (44/sur)