Agencies pass the buck on enforcement

  • Metro News
  • Monday, 11 Dec 2017

Marshel says the Health Minister can appoint either City Hall or the police to carry out enforcement.

THE enforcement of the new ruling on alcohol sale which came into effect on Dec 1 this year has not specified which government authority handles the enforcement.

The rules pertaining to control of alcohol sale under the Food Regulation Act 1985 was amended and gazetted on May 27, 2016. However, a question begging for an answer is which enforcement agency should take charge of enforcing the new regulation.

StarMetro contacted a Health Ministry official and was told that enforcement pertaining to the sale and packaging of alcoholic beverages came under the jurisdiction of the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK).

When we contacted a KPDNKK officer, we were informed that the enforcement was supposed to be handled either by the local authority or the Customs Department.

A DBKL officer said licences to sell liquor were issued by the DBKL Excise Licensing Board comprising the police, Customs Department and DBKL.

“City Hall do not have the authority to carry out enforcement on liquor laws; we have the authority to enforce the premises licence (outlet/shop) and that is if we were to receive a show-cause letter from the authority concerned,” he said.

“However, we are available to assist in joint-operations if it is required,” the officer added.

When contacted, the Malaysian Anti-Cheap Liquor Movement said there appears to be confusion on which agency should enforce the law with regard to sale and packing of alcoholic beverages.

“It seems to be a grey area,” said its president P. David Marshel.

“But it can be remedied. In this case, the Health Minister can appoint either City Hall or the police to carry out the enforcement; he has the authority,” he said.

“It is sad that even after 18 months to prepare themselves, the liquor retailers and suppliers have not made any attempts to make the relevant changes,” Marshel said.

He added that compounded hard liquor was still being sold in 150ml bottles which goes against the new ruling that was gazetted in May last year.

“I am not surprised that teenagers are still able to walk in and buy alcoholic beverages so easily,” Marshel said, adding that introducing legislation without proper enforcement is pointless.

StarMetro also spoke to several pub operators in the city asking about the new rule. Most said they had not put up new signage yet as they were still waiting for feedback from the authorities.

“I still have not heard anything from DBKL regarding the new regulations. By right, since it issues the premises licence to us, DBKL should have also informed us about it,” said an outlet operator from Bangsar who declined to be named.

Visits by StarMetro to various establishments in the city also showed that most were not displaying the new signage.

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