TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - This week, the Indonesian public was again at the receiving end of a shocking news of a politician arrested for allegedly consuming addictive drug, with the revelation taking the Democratic Party this time by storm.
The news that shook this political party was related to the arrest of its deputy secretary general, Andi Arief, for allegedly using crystal methamphetamine, or sabu-sabu.
The police arrested this outspoken politician in a hotel room in Jakarta on Sunday at around 6:30 p.m. local time.
As revealed in his press briefing on Monday, the police spokesman, Inspector General M. Iqbal, stated that Arief was merely a victim of drug use in need of rehabilitation.
What transpired with this Democratic Party politician has again demonstrated the dangers of addictive drugs in the country, as their users could be "anybody."
Read also: Andi Arief to Resign from Democrat Party
However, Arief`s exposure has extended the list of politicians, who got involved in drug cases.
In August 2018, the National Democrat Party (Nasdem) had also come under the radar of online and mainstream media as well as various social media platforms in Indonesia following the arrest of its legislator in Langkat District, North Sumatra Province.
In contrast to merely being a drug user like Arief, Ibrahim Hasan, alias Ibrahim Hongkong, a Nasdem cadre and member of Langkat District`s legislative body, was sacked for his involvement in cross-border drug smuggling activities.
Deputy of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Drug Control Inspector General Arman Depari revealed that 105 kilograms (kg) of crystal meth were confiscated from Hasan, who admitted to his frequent engagement in smuggling the crystal meth from Malaysia to the Indonesian territory.
In connection with the Arief case, M. Iqbal`s statement that Arief is merely a victim implies that he shares a similar fate as several other drug users, who had obtained rights to be rehabilitated in the past.
The BNN recorded that some 50 Indonesians die of illicit drugs every day, while the total number of drug users in the country having reached seven million. The value of drug trade in Indonesia is estimated to have reached at least Rp66 trillion.
The above factual reality has made Indonesia a potential market for both local and transnational drug dealers.
For the Democratic Party, the police investigation into the drug case of its cadre, Arief, deserves to be treated with respect, but the party`s Head of Legal Aid Division, Ferdinand Hutahaean, firmly believes that the drug case was a matter that could not be tolerated.
Hutahaean said his party would not tolerate any of its cadres, who misuse drugs, but with regard to whether his division would provide legal aid to Arief, he said he would ask him first.
"For the time being, we cannot as yet give you any details. We need to study this case first by meeting Arief, so that we may ask him about whether he has got lawyers. At the moment, we are not yet able to coordinate with him," he informed journalists.
Hutahaean further added that the Democratic Party`s executive board members had heard Inspector General M. Iqbal`s statement that Arief was merely a victim of drug use, who needs to be rehabilitated.
"Regarding the codes of ethics, legal process, and so forth, we are going to brief you later. Please understand this, because it is so sensitive for us. Please be patient," he stated at a press conference in Jakarta on Monday.
Over the past week, the Indonesian police have been working hard to uncover inter-provincial drug rings through joint-operations.
On March 2, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Muhammad Ikbal Simatupang from the Jakarta Metropolitan Police`s Narcotics Division disclosed that a Jakarta-Palembang drug ring had been uncovered.
The police investigators seized 50 kg of crystal meth and 65 thousand ecstasy pills from the suspects. Six people have, so far, been named suspects in connection with this drug trafficking crime.
This joint operation, involving those from the Jakarta Metropolitan Police, South Sumatra Provincial Police, and Palembang City`s Police, was launched after the police investigators arrested four suspects in North Jakarta on Friday evening (Mar. 1).
The police officers seized 10 kg of crystal meth and 25 thousand ecstasy pills from the suspects during the North Jakarta raid. The police investigators in Palembang City then developed this case after coordinating with their colleagues in Jakarta.
They launched two separate raids on Friday evening, resulting in the arrests of Ismayandi, 24, at a hotel on Demang Lebar Daun Street, and Rio, 25, at a hotel on General Basuki Rakhmat Street.
From this operation, the police investigators confiscated around 25 kg of crystal meth and 10 thousand ecstasy pills from Ismayandi, as well as 15 kg of cystal meth, 30 thousand ecstasy pills, and a sedan from Rio, Simatupang stated.
The total value of seized crystal meth and ecstasy pills was forecast to reach some Rp50 billion, he stated, adding that this drug ring could have been uncovered after thoroughly investigating and chasing the suspects for a month and a half.
The two couriers arrested in Palembang, the capital city of South Sumatra Province, on Friday evening, might have made plans to sell the drug in Jakarta. To this end, they planned to transport it by boarding a train from Palembang to Lampung.
From Lampung, they continued their route to Jakarta aboard a car, he added.
Like several other drug cases, the drug users, including Arief, deserve the same treatment as the victims of drug dealers. Hence, as victims, they have rights to be rehabilitated.
However, drug producers and dealers should be punished severely, as they have not merely benefited financially from their consumers but have also simultaneously weakened Indonesia financially and socially.
In conclusion, the drug producers and dealers are the number one enemy of all Indonesians; not the users.
ANTARA | RAHMAD NASUTION