I AM encouraged by the swift and decisive action taken by the Government to retain the ban on public consumption of alcohol in Little India ("Ban on alcohol sales in Little India under review"; on Wednesday).
However, a more sustainable solution would be to clamp down on the alcohol licences issued and the sale of small bottles of hard liquor in Little India stores.
A bottle of whisky, vodka or brandy would typically have an alcohol content of 30 per cent to 45 per cent. This means a 1-litre bottle with 40 per cent alcohol content would contain 400ml of alcohol.
According to the Singapore Customs, the duty payable for such hard liquor is $70 per litre of alcohol.
Therefore, the duty for a 1-litre bottle containing 400ml of alcohol would be $28. This bottle would probably cost about $60 in a retail store, after factoring in the profit margin and cost of manufacturing and distribution.
So a smaller bottle of about 300ml would cost less than $20, making it affordable to foreign workers.
Some people have argued that the foreign workers have the right to unwind with alcohol on a Sunday night, after an arduous work week.
But with their limited income, and the next day being a working day, what good would this activity do for them? We could provide other recreational activities to help them unwind.
After all, they are here to earn a living to better the lives of their families at home, and should not "waste" their hard-earned money on alcohol.
Lee Kok Leong, Reader
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