KUCHING, May 28 — Sarawak human rights activist Peter John Jaban today suggested that the federal government strengthen the Road Transport Act (RTA) on drunk driving by imposing heavier penalties against offenders, instead of banning alcohol.
“Protecting public safety on the road can be achieved without impinging on people’s private affairs,” he said.
Jaban, who is also the Sarawak Association for People’s Aspiration (SAPA) information chief, was commenting on PAS information chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad’s suggestion that the Perikatan Nasional government suspend production and sale of alcoholic beverages.
He said PAS’ suggestion is a thinly veiled attempt to impose Islamic beliefs and practices on the whole country under the guise of public safety.
Jaban said PAS' idea to ban alcohol has little to do with preventing drunk driving, but more of a hidden agenda to ban alcohol consumption in accordance with PAS’ openly Islamist agenda.
He said the vast majority of people in Malaysia who consume alcohol choose to do it responsibly and in moderation just like billions of people around the world.
“Why should there be a blanket ban imposed on them to please a small minority who disapprove of alcohol for religious reasons?” he asked.
“When it comes to drunk driving, the only appropriate response is to target the wrongdoers," he added.
He said PAS’ suggestion will drive every bar and entertainment outlet in Malaysia that is already suffering from the movement control order (MCO), out of business.
He added it will completely kill the tourism industry, which is also teetering on the brink.