RECENTLY, I have noticed that liquor and wine shops have sprouted up in all nooks and corners of the country, especially in populated cities like Kuala Lumpur, George Town, Johor Baru and Ipoh.
It is disturbing to also note that the local authorities have been so liberal in issuing licences for the sales of hard liquor and other alcoholic drinks in mini markets and sundry stores too.
The easy availability of these intoxicating drinks to the public, especially to our youths, has far- reaching social and health implications.
We are already witnessing all sorts of social and health problems emerging from those who have been addicted to drugs.
The open and liberal sale of liquor and alcoholic beverages are encouraging many youths to indulge in binge drinking, rowdiness and to behave violently in public after been intoxicated.
The licensing of liquor and wine shops without any consideration for public sentiments and social norms ought to be reviewed by the authorities.
The sudden emergence of these liquor stalls is a cause for concern.
Studies indicate many of the violent and brutal crimes committed in society happen to be among those high on drugs and alcohol.
The authorities should consider the recent suggestion by the former Selangor state exco member Xavier Jayakumar to ban the consumption of alcoholic drinks in public places like parks and other open spaces.
We need to enact specific bylaws for this proposal. The police and the respective city or local councils should be empowered to enforce the law. Offenders should be fined if they ignore warnings. Those who go overboard to a point of threatening public safety and vandalising public property in parks, beaches and other open spaces after drinks should be arrested and charged in court.
This proposal to ban public drinking of alcohol may sound harsh and may appear to infringe upon one’s freedom but it is a necessity to curb the problems associated with public drinking.
It should be noted that many European countries, the US, Canada and Australia have legislated laws banning alcohol drinking in public.
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