KUCHING, May 28: Awareness and self-education on the dangers of alcohol consumption should be the way forward to tackle drunk driving, opines PRS Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan.
Responding to Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (Pas)’s proposal to suspend total production and sales of alcohol immediately as new measures to prevent drunk driving, Snowdan believes a ban is not the answer because it will cause black markets or demand for substitutes like drugs to thrive.
Agreeing with Deputy Chief Minister and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri James Jemut Masing that such a proposal infringes on others’ rights, Snowdan asserted Pas and those that oppose their proposal can only agree to disagree.
“We have to explore the existing laws and regulations to make a more effective deterrent. Perhaps we can impose a heavier penalty or lengthy jail sentences on the offender, and insurance coverage for the victims.
“Malaysia must continue with awareness campaigns and we must educate our people on how destructive alcohol can be to our health and other lives if accidents do happen,” he opined in a statement.
Snowdan suggested that alcohol consumption awareness and education should be an ongoing campaign similar to the one against drugs.
“Pas must not regard this coalition as a platform to garner support for its call to ban alcohol. Drunk driving and drunkards are social problems and probably a threat to religious or spiritual values but not necessarily a political issue.
“If it does not encroach into your beliefs, your culture and religious tenets, you might as well leave it to the other person to practise their rights and freedom and not infringe it,” he asserted.
While he empathised with the victims, Snowdan believed that others’ social beliefs and rights that exist in this multi-racial structure should also be considered instead of on spiritual values alone.
On Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak chairman Larry Sng’s recent remarks alleging that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is silent on Pas’ call over the same issue, Snowdan said Sng is ignorant and ‘had missed the boat’.
“He ought to reverse his gear and read what our GPS ministers had rebutted earlier. What he should have done is to state PKR’s stance on behalf of his party statewide, instead of questioning what other parties had acted upon,” Snowdan asserted. — DayakDaily