Freezing liquor licences won’t end drink driving: Tiong

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

KUCHING: Freezing new applications for liquor licences alone cannot eliminate drink driving, said Bintulu Member of Parliament and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Tiong King Sing.

“The real key to solving the problem of drink driving still lies in the national education system and more severe penalties as deterrence,” he said in statement issued yesterday in response to a call by Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa to Kuala Lumpur City Hall to stop issuing new liquor licences.

Tiong, who is also the prime minister’s envoy to China, said the move, if implemented, would only cause more dissatisfaction, particularly among honest business people.

“I call on Annuar to understand why KL City Hall had repeatedly delayed approval of liquor licences. It is known that many businesses have applied to get their liquor licences renewed and waited for up to 18 months. This is unacceptable and unreasonable,” he said.

To establish effective measures for controlling alcohol consumption, Tiong emphasised that it required strategic and integrated action plans at all levels of government.

“Municipal councils, local government and other relevant bodies should discuss more effective solutions with other authorities including the Ministry of Transport.

“Let’s turn our attention to countries with much larger populations and adopt their effective solutions. What methods can we learn from others? After all, it is by examining our own shortcomings and weaknesses that we can ensure our continued progress.

He then urged all federal ministers to exercise more care and sensitivity for the various races when expressing their views by carefully considering the situation holistically.

“In response to media queries on the above, I urge cooler heads to prevail by focusing on correcting the main root causes of the problem.

“Just as other developed nations bring real lasting solutions and counter-measures, so too should our politicians refrain from pandering to prevailing emotions. We all must consider the feelings of all ethnic groups in order to maintain lasting national harmony and social order,” he said.

In advising Annuar to rethink his call, Tiong explained that any decision or change should depend on rational discussion based on detailed consideration.

“The appropriate actions should then be taken to avoid making rash decisions that have no bearing on improving the overall drink driving situation.

“For a country that wishes to prosper and progress, it can no longer act regressively. We hope the decisions by authority figures will also be temperate and consider the opinions of communities that consume liquor,” he said.