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PETALING JAYA: The suggestion to ban the sale of alcohol after 10pm at all 24-hour retail outlets is illogical as the bulk of road crashes in the country are caused by human error and not drink driving, said social activists.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s special officer in charge of Indian affairs, Ramesh Rao Krishnan Naidu, who made the suggestion, said the measure will have a better long-term effect on the community and family as each individual will be protected from the influence of alcohol, which was very worrying.

He also said for a start, local authorities can impose a ban (on alcohol sales after 10pm) in retail shops that operate 24 hours in their regulated areas.

He expressed hope that such a ban would help further improve the quality of social life in communities.

Commenting on the statement, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said: “He should have not come out with that statement at all. Some people buy alcohol after 10pm and drink it at their homes without disturbing anyone.

“If you are talking about road crashes and social ills, there are other factors which lead to such incidents. There are more road crashes caused by reckless drivers who drive above speed limits, or use their mobile phones on the road. They are also teenagers who drive without a licence,” he said.

The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research former chairman also said the majority of road crashes in the country are caused by human error, which includes speeding, changing lanes without using indicator lights, running the red light and using mobile phones while driving.

Lee said blaming alcohol consumption for crime in the country is unreasonable as it (crime) grows when the economy is poor, adding that attitude was also a main cause.

“There is more that needs to be done to curb crime and promote safety rather than just blaming alcohol consumption. That is not right.

“We have to strengthen our economy to reduce the number of social ills. In times when businesses are recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, such statements are not a good idea. They will discourage sellers from improving their income.”

Lee added that the ban is not in line with the freedom that Malaysians have in a multiracial country.

“Malaysians should have freedom of choice when they live in this country. We have a nation that is multiracial and practises multicultural traditions, which is what the country is known for around the world,” he said.

Another social activist, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, said the suggestion is improper and that the ban on alcohol may discourage tourists from visiting Malaysia.

“There are retail premises that rely on business after 10pm. Our tourism industry needs these foreigners to be allowed to buy and drink alcohol. If the ban on alcohol is implemented, what happens when there are still road crashes involving motorists? Do we have to ban cars on the road? This is nonsense.”

Ramon also said Ramesh must have facts before making such statements.

“If you make suggestions with no basis and facts, you just create controversies. Show us the proof or research that says banning the sale of alcohol after 10pm will reduce crime and road crashes. Please be more responsible.”

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