If Malaysia can ban cigarettes, do ban alcohol and gambling, too

A RECENT survey carried out by the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) found that most Malaysians want the Government to ban the sale of alcohol, sugary drinks and gambling as well as prohibit the operation of nightclubs, pubs and karaoke joints.

The consumer group said these products and services are considered “bad” as smoking and vaping are bad for one’s health.

The respondents of the PPIM survey are right. It really isn’t rocket science and it is something the Government should seriously consider.

Putting an end to smoking and vaping is something that the Government is already pursuing through its “Generation End Game” plan which will see a ban on the sale of cigarettes and vape to individuals born after 2005.

This is something that takes a lot of political will and to the Government’s credit, it has not wavered in pushing for “Generation End Game”.

As such, it seems only natural that the Government should look to realise the aspirations of Malaysians where banning the sale of alcohol, sugary drinks, gambling and the operation of nightclubs and karaoke joints.

After all, why only ban one or two bad habits yet allows others to fester? We should not have double standards for bad habits.

If the Government is citing health reasons for banning smoking, then it must be noted there are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) linked to alcohol consumption, including cancer, liver diseases and pancreatitis.

Datuk Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz

Similarly, sugary drinks are linked to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Gambling, on the other, as PPIM argued, can plunge one into debt. One just needs to Google to see that it is not a far-fetched argument.

Detractors will say that it is a matter of moderation and that people should have complete freedom to do what they want. But who has to bear the cost and consequences of these bad habits? Society.

This is why I urge the Government to consider PPIM’s survey results. Understandably, the Government cannot and should not take a top-down approach but a more inclusive approach in the spirit of the Keluarga Malaysia concept.

Surely, there are also repercussions to consider, especially on the economy, in banning alcohol, sugary drinks and the operation of nightclubs. Somewhere and somehow down the line, someone’s rice bowl would be impacted.

This is why any plans to curb “bad habits” must be calculated and planned carefully.

However, that journey must start with the Government’s will and desire to ensure there are no “double standards” for bad habits. – June 22, 2022


Datuk Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz is the president of Pertubuhan Ummmah Muafakat Putrajaya.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


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