KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Passengers must not think that they are free to do anything in planes, PAS central committee member Riduan Mohd Nor said today while repeating calls to ban alcohol in Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) flight.
The Islamist party PAS’ arts and culture bureau chief also said Putrajaya must not fear customers deserting MAB if no alcohol is served, as he suggested the drafting of laws making the ban mandatory.
“The ban of alcoholic drinks in airplanes is a lesson to the customers that the plane is not an entertainment centre or nightclubs for them to do what they wish,” he said in a statement, pointing out that infants and the elderlies also take flights.
“It is a temporary transit ferrying passengers from one place to another. Therefore, the safety of passengers and the plane is a main issue that cannot be compromised.”
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said in a Parliamentary written reply today that Putrajaya will let airlines decide instead of banning alcohol on flights.
“Airlines such as MAB, which fly to various destinations around the world and fly different types of passengers, need to meet their customers’ needs especially for business class and first class,” he said in a written reply to PAS’ Kuala Nerus MP Datuk Khairuddin Aman Razali.
In response, Riduan said Putrajaya must not worry about losing customers since there are other aspects when valuing airlines such as punctuality, efficiency, service and comfort.
“Just because there’s no alcohol, doesn’t mean customers will be disappointed and search for other companies. Customers may even prefer the company because its safety is guaranteed,” he said.
He pointed at twin fatal tragedies with Malaysia Airlines flights MH370 and MH17, suggesting they were allegedly related to the lack God’s blessings.
In June, PAS Youth had urged MAB to stop serving alcohol completely today, following a bomb scare on its MH128 from Melbourne, Australia.
The wing claimed that alcohol is a “threat” against flight safety, and said Malaysia must make Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Bahrain as role models in this matter, including its neighbour Brunei.
MAB had stopped serving alcohol on flights under three hours’ long starting January 1 last year to accommodate the preference of most of their customers who are Malaysians, but did not publicly announce it until April that year.