PETALING JAYA: The availability of illicit and cheap liquor is the main contributor to the problem of alcoholism and not late-night alcohol sales at 24-hour shops, says Ipoh Barat MP M Kula Segaran.
He disputed a proposal that alcohol sales should be banned after 10pm at all 24-hour shops and said effective enforcement to check the sales of illicit and cheap liquor should be made a priority.
He suggested the setting up of CCTV cameras at liquor shops, linked to local councils and monitored effectively.
Kula also called for rehabilitation of alcoholics. “Our hospitals should have special units for this purpose. This problem won’t be resolved just by stopping liquor sales after 10pm,” he said.
The proposal to ban late-night sales had been made by Ramesh Rao, a special officer to deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Ramesh said alcohol consumption late at night led to excessive drinking, resulting in road accidents, fights and crime and the ban would result in a better family life.
Kula agreed with Ramesh’s comments on the dangers of alcoholism, especially among the Indian community. Kula said it was worrying to see school-going teenagers consuming alcohol and called for programmes to educate students on the dangers of illicit and cheap liquor.
Perai assemblyman P Ramasamy said a ban on late-night sales would lead to illegal outlets taking advantage of the ban.
“Simply jumping on the green wave to call for restrictions on alcohol sales has implications that he (Ramesh) does not understand,” said Ramasamy, referring to Kedah’s ban on alcohol sales in areas with low market demand.