ALCOHOL: SHOULD IT BE ABOLISHED?
Malaysia is known as the tenth largest consumer of alcohol in the world and very few studies have been done to find the accurate magnitude of the problems caused by this consumption. Although not many studies have been carried, the facts and figures show that it is increasing each year. Malaysians spend about USD$500 million on alcohol yearly and among the drinking population, the Malaysian Indians who are 8 per cent of the country’s population are by far the heaviest drinkers with consumption of absolute alcohol which exceeds 14 litres. The ready availability of alcohol and the cheap price which is affordable by many is why the alcohol market is making tonnes of profit. Consumption of alcohol will bring harm if it is abused; not only does it cause health issues but it also contributes to other negative defects to the society as well as the country. This brings us to a point where although Malaysian alcohol market generates profits, alcohol should be abolished in Malaysia because some alcohol companies create false advertising, it causes road accidents and many problems arise due to uncontrollable consumption of alcohol beverages.
Alcohol companies create false advertising and marketing. Some advertisements are nothing short of dangerous in their dangerous lies and deceptive claims. They use celebrity supports, sexual themes, and young and attractive models in alcohol advertisements in order to impress and attract the customers. Transnational alcohol companies use immoral advertising and marketing tactics to get customers specifically among the lower economic sector of society. Alcoholic drinks are also advertised as products that will carry sexual prowess, success, and power. The ‘Guinness Stout is good for you’ campaign of the 1980s that is well-known by many of us has successfully captured the poorer working class because it promised to ‘put back what the day takes out.’ Carlsberg’s ‘Long Cool Dane’ campaign generally targeted Asians. Besides that, the advertising of designer alcoholic drinks; more teenagers start to drink alcoholic beverages at a former age. It is found that 45 per cent of Malaysian youths under 18 deplete alcohol beverages regularly even though the legal age requirements for drinking alcohol is 18 years old and above. Alcohol is by far the most widely used by teenagers compared to all the legal and illegal drugs, and in accordance with a national survey many are commonly drinking to excess. A few years ago, new designer alcoholic drinks entered the Malaysian market which particularly targets teenagers. The designer alcoholic drinks such as alcoholic lemonades and sodas with 4-5 per cent alcohol are commonly mentioned to as alcopops. They went by brand names such as Hooch, Stinger, DNA and Lemonhead and the bottles were colourful with cartoon characters which obviously signified they were designed specially to address to youngsters. They were initially sold in nightspots and soon made their way to supermarkets and sold normally like soft drinks. In fact, in the United Kingdom, studies show that alcopops lead to an increase in underage drinking and these drinks have actually been in the centre of controversies. Thus, alcohol beverages should be abolished in Malaysia because many companies create false advertising and marketing.
Other than that, many problems arise due to consumption of alcohol whether it is of high or low intake. In Malaysia, the biggest victims of alcohol are actually the poor; more specifically the labourers who work in oil palm and rubber estates. Alcohol is the major cause of poverty in Malaysia. Most of them drink samsu; a locally distilled potent spirit where it was introduced here during the colonial times by the British. According to statistics, of the estimated 200,000 drinkers, 75 per cent of them are samsu drinkers. These drinkers spend about RM20million a year on samsu. These drinks are sold between...
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