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Datuk Sebastian Ting blast PAS who calls for ban in alcohol

The call from PAS on Putrajaya to suspend the production and sale of alcohol to curb drunk driving is an extreme one which is uncalled for in a multi-racial country like Malaysia, said Datuk Sebastian Ting, Secretary general for SUPP.

Ting who is also the Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture said PAS has again been insensitive and attempt to instill their ideology by forcing Malaysians to take on their stand without a thought for other races.

The Islamist party have asked for Perikatan Nasional government to set up a special Cabinet committee comprising a few ministries to tackle the problem and before anything was discussed suggested to the Customs Department and local councils to suspend the issuance of licences to sell alcohol and stop its sale at 24-hour convenience stores.

PAS statement has set off a fury of protest from right minded Malaysians as they are looking at things from a micro point of views.

First, Ting said they should ask themselves how many fatalities were caused by drunk drivers and agreed that there are some but from the Traffic police statistic released annually, the highest cause of fatal accidents were not due to drunk driving but human error. In Sarawak, car drivers are not the top of the list in fatality but motorcyclists. Do we need to ban motorcycles now, he asked.

Drunk driving, added Ting occurs everywhere in the world. Does it mean that alcohol has to be banned totally to solve fatality on the roads?

There are already laws enacted to deal with drunk drivers and they are not lenient. We cannot solve problems by banning when an issue cropped up. Our most frequent crimes are house breaking and theft all over the nation especially on landed properties. Do we have to ban people from staying on landed properties but moved them all to apartments?

Currently, if one is caught for drunk driving, he can be fined up to RM 6,000 and imprisonment of up to 12 months. The solution, he believed can be double the fine and jail term as a deterrence from drunk driving.

“Education campaign also plays an important role to make the people aware of the serious drunk driving issue and the devastating consequences of drunk driving towards their loved ones and the others using the road. More efforts have to be made to set up school-based programs to instill culture of responsible drinking and safe driving attitude to students to decrease alcohol related driving accidents and fatalities among young drivers. It is time for us to consider lowering the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the prescribed limit from the current 0.08% to 0.05%. Most countries are enforcing BAC of 0.05%. It is better to be safe then to regret later,” he added.

Ting reckoned that the key thing for the law to be effective is that we must have more enforcement. More police officers setting up more random breath test checkpoint to test drivers for alcohol and drugs.

PAS, he stated, should not issue a statement without taking inconsideration to things from various angles. Our traffic police do take actions going after drunk driving in Ops Mabok.

Like many other crimes, drunk driving is just one of them. There are many who drink moderately to have some fun time with friends or over businesses negotiation.

In advanced countries, there are pub operators who helped call the cabs for the drunk drinkers. For those who drink in group, they can be asked to ensure that their friends do not drive or drink.

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