Alcohol ban not the answer to drink driving issue: MP Ramkarpal

MEDIA STATEMENT

The DAP and then Pakatan Harapan Government are against drink driving. No one has the right to endanger another Malaysian of his or her life by drink driving.

However, the call by PAS to suspend the production and sale of alcohol until a solution is found to curb drink driving, following the spate of incidents involving intoxicated drivers, does not make sense and is going overboard.

The sale of alcohol has been allowed in this country, albeit, with various restrictions and this ought to be allowed to remain.

The Pakatan Harapan government had always been steadfast in its commitment to overcome the problem of drink driving.

Former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng proposed a fine for dangerous driving under the influence of alcohol to RM100,000.00 under the Road Transport Act and an increase in the jail sentence for such offence to a maximum of 20 instead of the current 10 years to the Cabinet.

Former transport minister Anthony Loke was scheduled to present the said amendments to Parliament in June.

Laws concerning dangerous driving under the influence of alcohol, or any other type of substance, ought to be strengthened and greater empowerment given for enforcement purposes, but banning it outright for the time being would not stem the problem when alcohol is allowed again.

Greater emphasis ought to be given towards educating the public on the dangers of drink driving and alcohol abuse in general to avoid more incidents of alcohol-related accidents on the road.

Most jurisdictions across the world have advocated stricter laws and enforcement and greater education to address the problem of drink driving, but not a total ban on it.

For example, Belgium started the BOB campaign in 1995 to educate the public on drink driving with a special emphasis on appointing designated drivers

Similarly, Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD) in the USA advocates sobriety checkpoints, primary seat belt laws and stricter penalties for repeat and high risk offenders.

A ban on alcohol is not the answer to the problem of drink driving. Education, stricter laws and enforcement are. PAS should stop politicising the issue.

Dated this 27th of May, 2020.

RAMKARPAL SINGH
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
BUKIT GELUGOR
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY