AS the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, lamented the spread of punk culture and other 'negative Western trends' among Malaysian youth last week, police were taking action to curb a negative Asian trend, the spread of secret societies. Following an attack on a Form Three student who refused to pay M$300 (HK$930) for the privilege of being a member of a secret society, police said officers would be stationed at a number of schools in Petaling Jaya, an industrial and residential suburb of Kuala Lumpur. Dr Mahathir's remarks about negative Western trends followed a special report in the leading Malay-language newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, on the growing number of youths in Kuala Lumpur who were adopting the hairstyles and fashions favoured by both punks and skinheads in the West. It said punk culture was taking root in the capital, especially at amusement centres. Speaking to undergraduates at a university campus on a visit to his home state of Kedah, Dr Mahathir called on young Malaysians to practise self-discipline and not blindly adopt Western cultures. He said he could not understand why Malaysians were aping 'such a dumb Western culture'. For no reason 'they put glue on their hair so they look like Red Indians'. 'We don't need punk culture,' Dr Mahathir said. 'It is stupid.' He said Malaysians saw orang putih (white people) do something stupid and emulated them. 'They drink liquor, we drink liquor; they take drugs, we take drugs,' he said. Dr Mahathir said the decadence of Western culture was one of the reasons the government had formulated the Look East policy, so that Malaysians could learn the discipline of the Koreans and Japanese in developing their countries. He did not mention that Japan and Korea also had their punks.