Can we have an alcohol-free day?

Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong

KUCHING: The federal government is urged to hold an ‘Alcohol-Free Day’ in its efforts to curb drunk driving.

In making this call, Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong said with the campaign, the Transport Ministry could impose a compound on flouters.

“If the Ministry of Health is successful with the campaign not to smoke in public places, I suggest the Ministry of Transport hold a campaign on the dangers of driving while intoxicated and its consequences on health.

“It may be named ‘Alcohol-Free Day’ and a compound can be imposed  on offenders who violate the campaign,” he said when debating on the Bill to amend Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333) in Parliament yesterday.

Ugak said with various ethnicities living in Malaysia, their respective religious and racial beliefs must also be taken into account.

“I am an Iban who always stresses the need to control alcohol consumption during festivals like Gawai and other ceremonies in longhouses.

“The message should be disseminated through the  respective Village Security and Development Committees (JKKKs) in the longhouses,” he said.

To raise the awareness of the public on the dangers of drunk driving, the message of the campaign should be broadcast through various mediums such as the electronic media, print media and radio stations.

“In Hulu Rajang, Baram, Kanowit, Kapit, Lubok Antu and Saratok, Mukah, Sibuti, Tanjong Manis, Batang Lupar constituencies, radio is a very effective communication medium,” said the Hulu Rajang MP.

He also suggested that the campaign  be part of the table test for individuals at driving centres.

“I would like to emphasise that this bill needs to be expedited to ensure drunk drivers understand the government’s firmness in addressing this issue. We must not just talk but we must act accordingly,” he said.