Prince officiates opening of new Al-Islah
By Amin Hosni

A new building of the Al-Islah centre.

A significant milestone for the nation's only drug rehabilitation and treatment institution, Al-Islah Centre, was marked yesterday when His Royal Highness Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim declared the new centre located in Kg Kupang officially open.

The ceremony was witnessed by Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Dato Seri Paduka Hj Eusoff Agaki Hj Ismail and the Director of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Hj Abd Aziz OKMB Hj Othman, as well as other senior officials from the PMO and NCB.

Upon arrival, HRH Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim was presented with a pesambah and given a briefing on the $18 million centre by the Commandant of Al-Islah, Hj Roslan Hj Suhaili. His Royal Highness also signed a plaque and was given a tour around the compound, including visits to the male and female blocks.

The project to construct a new centre for drug rehabilitation was part of the 8th National Development Plan. It has been relocated from its previous location in Jalan Pelumpong near Muara Beach to a massive 50-acre area surrounded by dense forests in Kg Kupang, the Tutong District.

Numerous efforts and changes have brought about by NCB in areas like education and treatments at Al-Islah since it took over the management from the Prisons Department in early 2008.

The number of entries per year has been fluctuating over the years, and with the construction of a larger compound as well as more housing blocks, the bureau stated that it hopes to provide better comfort for those undergoing treatments.

The centre is said to accommodate an estimated 200 male and 100 females residents at its maximum after adding more individual blocks than the previous centre, with separate counselling, academic, exhibition and sales blocks.

These are in addition to the administration, male and female blockhouses, a detoxification block, intermediate housing (for residents in near-complete treatment stages) and a safety control centre.

The new Al-Islah centre began its full operations on February 1 this year when the keys to its buildings were handed over to NCB from the Public Works Department. Currently, there are over 100 residents seeking treatment at the centre. - Borneo Bulletin (12th February 2010)