Most favour alcohol curbs

Most favour alcohol curbs

Eight in 10 people support banning alcohol drinking in some public places, while about the same proportion want retail shops' alcohol sales hours to be limited.

These were the findings of a survey by government feedback portal Reach and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) between Oct 29 and Dec 31 last year.

The ministry did not provide absolute figures for the responses, but said in a statement yesterday that the respondents suggested banning alcohol drinking in areas near MRT stations and in neighbourhood common grounds, like playgrounds and void decks.

The respondents also generally preferred retail shops to stop selling takeaway alcohol by midnight in residential areas and by 2am in entertainment districts.

The agencies had asked people to comment on the proposals to limit public drinking and sales, as part of a review here to improve public safety and reduce the nuisance from people gathering and drinking alcohol in public places.

Members of Parliament and residents had raised concerns about the problems posed by public drinking in recent years, said MHA last year before the survey.

The sale and consumption of alcohol in Little India, for example, have been restricted since a riot there last December damaged 23 emergency vehicles and injured 54 responding officers.

The MHA is now seeking people's views on methods used in some other countries to limit the public drinking of alcohol.

These have been compiled at under the public consultations tab, and the deadline for feedback is July 31.

The views, and the findings and recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry looking into the riot, to be submitted this month, will be used to craft longer-term measures for Singapore.

In Britain, police can require people to give up open containers of alcohol in some areas, even as people are generally allowed to drink from them, said MHA.

"However, this is a more reactive approach and the nuisance would have been caused before intervention takes place," it said.

Other places like New South Wales in Australia have alcohol-free zones, whereas in the United States, public drinking is almost universally banned.

Ms Anisah Mohamed, 35, an assistant administrative manager, suggested a curfew on public alcohol drinking across residential neighbourhoods by, say, 10pm.

"It would be like the noise pollution laws that prevent construction works from disturbing people after a certain time," she said.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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