Malaysia’s Islamic party has proposed that the government temporarily shut the country’s alcohol industry until it finds solutions to its drunk driving problem.
A representative of the Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, called on the country yesterday to close various aspects of the industry, including production and sales, citing Malaysia’s frequent road traffic incidents involving drunk drivers.
“Looking at the frequent accident cases involving drunk drivers, PAS hereby suggests to the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to immediately suspend all productions, businesses, and sales of liquor until new measures can be taken,” Kamaruzaman Mohamad told a press briefing yesterday. He also urged authorities, including the customs department, to revoke alcohol sale licenses for 24-hour convenience stores.
“The tragedy of drunk drivers should not be viewed lightly. The mistake was due to the weakness of existing law and enforcement as well as the selfishness and stubbornness of the drunkards,” he added.
He then suggested that a Special Cabinet Committee be set up during the alcohol suspension to look into the drunk driving issue.
The political party’s proposal came as Malaysia saw a spate of drunk driving traffic incidents recently. A man was killed in Kuantan on Monday after a driver who was believed to be drunk collided into him.
Malaysia in 2019 reported having the third-highest death rate from road traffic accidents in ASEAN. Accidents have also been attributed to multiple causes other than alcohol consumption, such as speeding, drug consumption, and failure to put on seat belts.
During the same press briefing, Kamaruzaman noted a World Health Organization ranking that placed Malaysia in 2011 on the 10th place for alcohol consumption. Statistics released by WHO that year said Malaysians spent about US$500 million on alcohol annually.
Those found guilty of drunk driving in Malaysia face up to 10 years’ jail and a RM20,000 (about US$4,600) fine.
In February, former finance minister Lim Guan Eng unveiled plans to amend the penalty for motorists found guilty for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, with a fine of up to RM100,000 and jail time of 20 years.
Lim noted at the time that there were at least 7,000 recorded fatal road accidents in Malaysia each year, which he said was among the highest in the world.
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