By Darshan Singh | LETTER TO EDITOR |
We must recognize and respect the fact that smoking and alcohol consumption are a basic human right.
It is an individual’s personal choice if he or she would want to make smoking or alcohol consumption as their lifestyle habit, even after knowing of its negative health and social consequences.
While I am not sure of the stand of various religions on smoking, it can safely be assumed that all religions forbid the consumption of any form of intoxicants, which would necessarily include alcohol.
past couple of years, come October, we begin to witness debates and protests targeting at a famous Munich-based German festival called Oktoberfest which primarily celebrates alcohol consumption.
We may also remember an incident which happened last year where a group of individuals famously smashed beer bottles in front of the Selangor state secretariat in protest of a similar alcohol consumption festival.
The question which arises is why does the government keep on allowing such festivals to continue when it is abundantly clear that they cause more social harm than good, especially among the youth population?
It is rather unfortunate that while on one hand, the government is implementing various policy initiatives aiming to discourage people from alcohol consumption, including the recent raising of the minimum age to purchase alcohol products.
But on the other hand, these types of alcohol consumption festivals are allowed to continue.
There appears to be a stark inconsistency in policy development and implementation.
Moving forward, the federal government should review its current policy and adopt the stand of the Terengganu and Johor state governments and impose a nationwide ban on any such festival.
(Darshan Singh, Malaysia)
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