Based on a string of road accidents that had claimed several lives in early 2020, WAFIQ urges the government to take immediate action to reduce the risk of death from drunk driving. We welcome the response from the Ministry of Transport seeking review of existing legal provisions on drunk driving with the hope that appropriate action can also be imposed on alcohol distributors or liquor dealers.
According to a report by the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), there were at least 191 fatalities from drunk driving recorded in 2018 and the number has increased in 2019. The number of deaths in early 2020 alone is beyond worrying.
In terms of health research, the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, in 2016 stated a record of 3 million deaths worldwide is associated with alcohol use. Their study concludes that there is no safe level for those who drink alcohol, meaning that there is no minimum amount that health professionals can recommend to say that alcohol is safe to drink.
While in 2018 The Lancet, an international medical journal has published a study showing that alcohol use, at any rate, will only lead to a decline in one’s health. This was confirmed by Dr Carina Ferreira Borges, Director of the Alcohol and Drug Control Program at the WHO European Office for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.
It is crystal clear that the use and consumption of alcohol should be restricted. The ban on alcohol in Islam is based on divine revelation and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad SAW. Allah Almighty says in Surah Al Maidah verse 90 “O you who believe! Indeed, alcohol, gambling, and idolatry, and voting for fate with arrowheads, are (all) disgusting acts of Satan. So stay away from it so you can succeed. “
The Messenger of Allah also said that all intoxicants are illegal. In fact, Aisha RA has described how any intoxicant is illegal, even if it is taken at the rate of one faraq (فرق) or one handful. Whereas the hudud punishment imposed on alcohol drinkers according to a hadith is 40 whipping plus the ta’zir punishment from the government which should carry the punishment up to 80 times the whipping.
Section 44 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 provides for the law that any person who is driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drug and causes death or injury is punishable by imprisonment of not less than 3 years and not more than 10 years and a fine of not less than RM 8000 and not over RM 20,000. The existing penalties are insignificant in comparison to the careless mistake of road users which at certain extent, has taken the lives of others.
Therefore, WAFIQ proposes for the amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 to impose stricter penalties such as lifetime suspension of driver’s license and heavier penalty fee – taking into account the increasing death tolls of road users, trauma to the victim’s family members and the massive risk to public safety. In addition, the Ministry of Health is also urged to launch a ‘Ban Alcohol’ campaign as well as to provide ongoing warnings to people on the effects of alcohol consumption towards human’s mental and physical health.
1. Quran and Hadith
2. Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM)
3. Road Transport Act 1987
Nur Farihah Meor Mazli
Youth & Media Exco
International Women’s Alliance for Quality Family & Educational Institutions (WAFIQ)