While curbing instances of public disorder caused by alcohol intoxication is important, has this issue reached an epidemic proportion in Singapore ("Alcohol curbs tough but necessary, say MPs"; yesterday)?
As sociologist Paulin Straughan has stated, more data is needed to determine if public disorder due to alcohol consumption is indeed a serious social issue here.
If the data does not support this notion, then the proposals to curb public drinking would be overly harsh, giving the impression that the Government is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Another concern would be the issue of enforcement.
Given that the measures, if implemented, would be applied islandwide, enforcing them effectively would be a problem, given the manpower needed.
As the Commissioner of Police has testified during the Committee of Inquiry into the Little India riot, the police force is facing a manpower shortage ("1,000 more cops needed to boost force: Police chief"; March 26, 2014). Would enforcing the new measures overburden our police officers, such that they cannot devote more resources to dealing with more serious crimes?
I urge the Government to reconsider the new Bill, and to gather more data to support the need for these measures.
Han Ming Guang
This article was first published on January 21, 2015.
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