KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government must enforce the amended laws regarding the sale of liquor if it is to end preventable deaths, DAP’s Muhammad Shakir Ameer said today.
The party’s national vice-chief of its Youth wing said the recent death of a nasi lemak seller in Penang who was killed when a drunk driver crashed into his stall and the many fatalities resulting from the consumption of bootleg liquor could have been prevented if the authorities had enforced the revised Food Regulations 1985 two years ago.
“It is important that the government considers safety issues as well as the consumption of liquor responsibly. We do not want deadly accidents like what happened to Roslinda Mohamad Isa, or the issue of alcohol poisoning repeating once again,” he said in a statement.
He reminded the new administration that its Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim joined forces with the Malaysian Anti-Cheap Liquor Movement headed by P. David Marshel to campaign against the easy sale of cheap liquor in the country in March 2015, which resulted in the Food Regulations 1985 of the Food Act 1983 in May 2016.
“Among them, the amendment includes a ban on selling alcohol to those under the age of 21, that compounded hard liquor cannot be sold in bottles other than glasses, and less than 700ml. Offenders can also be fined not more than RM10,000 and be jailed up to two years.
“The Barisan Nasional government at that time had also promised that the new ban on the sale of alcohol would be enforced on December 1, 2017 but was not implemented without any explanation,” Shakir said.
He said there were still many types of alcoholic drinks that were easily available nationwide in grocery shops for as low as RM5 in 150ml bottles, adding that some were available in the guise of health drinks in traditional medicine shops.
“I would like to call on the Ministry of Health and the Pakatan Harapan federal government to enforce the 2016 amendment to the Food Regulations 1985 without further delay.”
National news agency Bernama reported Roslinda, 44, dying, and her husband of the same age, Mat Subri Saad, suffering serious head and hand injuries when a car driven by a 31-year-old man ploughed into their nasi lemak stall on Jalan Bertam Indah in Seberang Perai on June 16.
The driver, whose identity has not been made public, was said to be drunk and also tested positive for ganja. He was also found to have no valid driving licence.
The police are investigating him under Section 44(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Yesterday, four men died in Johor while another became blind after drinking beer suspected to be tainted with methanol.
The case is the latest from a spate of alcohol poisoning resulting from consumption of cheap and illicit booze nationwide that came to public attention last September and which has killed at least 43 people in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak and Penang.
Cheap liquor is believed to have been processed using methanol, a common industrial alcohol that can cause metabolic acidosis, neurologic sequelae, and even death, when ingested.