Alcohol Consumption in Malaysia

Alcohol consumption within Malaysia has gradually increased throughout the years. According to Code Blue, almost 50% of Malaysians who consume alcohol binge drink- approximately double the amount of countries such as Indonesia and the United Kingdom. 

Reportedly, 45.8% of Malaysians consume excessive amounts of alcohol, which is higher than the 27% reported binge drinkers within the United Kingdom, or the 29% of binge drinkers reported within Indonesia. The proportion of binge drinking amongst current drinkers within Malaysia has fallen to 45.8% in 2019, compared to the 50.2% in 2011, and 59.4% in 2015. These numbers were gathered by the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS)- a survey conducted by the Institute for Public Health. 

In comparison to other countries, the drinking habits among Malaysians seem to be quite worrying, especially since other countries have lower binge drinking habits. For instance, data from 2018, gathered by the Office of National Statistics in the UK shows that in the United Kingdom, 27% of regular drinkers binge on their heaviest drinking days (binge drinking is defined as consuming over 8 units of alcoholic beverages per day for me, and over 6 units for women).

In Indonesia, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) within Indonesia was 28.6% among drinkers who were aged 15 and above. These statistics were derived based on an individual's consumption of at least 60 grams of pure alcohol, on at least one occasion within the past 30 days.   

In the United States, binge drinking is defined as a specific pattern of drinking, which brings an individual's BAC levels (blood alcohol concentration) to 0.08g/dL, typically occurring after an individual consumes about 5 standard drinks (for men) and 4 standard drinks (for women). In order for binge drinking to be recorded, the individual must have engaged in this sort of drinking at least one day in the past month. 

Statistics for the United States shows that heavy alcohol use and binge drinking was reported at 26.45% for people aged 18 and above in 2018, and a further 6.6% were reported to have engaged in heavy alcohol usage (as reported by the National Institute for Health). 

Based on these findings, Malaysia seems to have quite the drinking issue. So much so, that amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 have taken place, and policymakers are pushing for a hurried shift in punishments- hoping to deter future drink driving offenders. 

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- Office for National Statistics, "Adult Drinking Habits in Great Britain

- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "Alcohol Facts and Statistics"

- Institute for Public Health, "NHMS 2019"

- D.H. Jernigan, S.K. Indran, "Alcohol use patterns, problems and policies in Malaysia"

- World Health Organization, "Country Profiles, Malaysia"

- Oxford Academic, "Alcohol Consumption and Risky Drinking Patterns in Malaysia: Findings from NHMS 2011"

- Internal Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health, "A Qualitative Study on Drug Abuse Relapse in Malaysia: Contributory Factors and Treatment Effectiveness"

- CodeBlue, "Malaysian Binge Drink More Than British?"