ALOR SETAR, June 3 — The Kedah government will follow the federal government’s lead on issues related to the sale of alcholic drinks, said Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.
He said the federal government wielded greater power regarding the matter and that the Kedah government would follow accordingly any decisions taken at the central level.
“Kedah takes the stand to support whatever decision is taken at the federal level towards safeguarding the lives of the public which is more important than the one or two who like to consume alcoholic drinks.
“The proposal to tighten laws and impose heavier penalties (on drunk drivers), for example, paying compensation to families of victims of road accidents. I feel it is fair to be considered,” he told reporters after chairing the state executive council meeting at Wisma Darul Aman here today.
He was asked on whether there was a need for the state to freeze licences for the sale of alcoholic drinks especially in duty-free resort island Langkawi following a marked increase in road fatalities caused by drunk drivers of late.
He added that any decision to be taken must be considered carefully so as not to infringe on the rights of non-Muslims.
In Ipoh, his Perak counterpart Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said the state government was in the process of fine tuning various proposals on the same matter.
He said the state government was looking into tightening standard operating procedures on sale of alcoholic drinks but any decisions taken would follow guidelines set by the Housing and Local Government Ministry,
“We will look into whether there is a need to freeze issuing of new liquor sale licences or tighten existing SOPs with the cooperation of the police,” he told reporters after launching the POP Travels Cer Citer competition here today.
He feared that a blanket ban on sale of alcoholic drinks would cause the industry to go “underground”.
“If you want to drink, drink responsibly, you don’t drink and then drive. Don’t play around with this, alcoholic drinks is something that can become a major killer, I am worried,” he said.
In Seremban, Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun said processing of new applications for liquor sale licences in the state followed existing procedures as set by the Excise Licensing Board in each district.
However, he said there were no fresh applications but only for renewals of existing licences.
The conditions to obtain the licence were already very tight and not easily obtained, he told reporters after chairing the state executive council meeting.
On May 30, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Transport Ministry had been instructed to draft amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333) following an increase in fatal road accidents that involved drunk drivers. — Bernama