Medan. Malaysia appears to pose an increasing threat to Indonesia in terms of illicit drug trafficking, with a customs official saying on Monday that all attempts at drug smuggling through Medan this year have originated from the neighboring country.
“Malaysia is a threat to us. They ask Indonesians to smuggle narcotics,” Anwar Supriyadi, the Ministry of Finance’s director general of customs and excise, said at Medan’s Belawan port.
Data from the North Sumatra customs office for 2008 shows that there were five failed attempts to smuggle narcotics from Malaysia through Medan.
But so far this year, 15 similar smuggling attempts have already been intercepted.
For the most part, the attempts at smuggling the drugs took place at Medan’s Polonia International Airport, Belawan Harbor and at two other ports in North Sumatra — Tanjung Tiram in Tanjung Balai district and Teluk Nibung in Batubara district.
Cases over the past two years have involved 21 Indonesians as couriers resulting in the seizure of 3.3 kilograms of heroin, 7.9 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 37,000 methamphetamine pills.
Anwar questioned how such large quantities of drugs could have gotten through security and customs checks at Malaysian harbors and airports. “In Malaysia, sanctions [for drug smuggling] are heavier,” he said.
Thomas Sugijata, the Ministry of Finance’s director of investigations, said that, based on his information, the rise in narcotics traffic from Malaysia was due to increased narcotics eradication efforts in that country. He said harsher penalties should be imposed to deter further smuggling .