SUNDRY shop and hypermarket operators in Kuala Lumpur are cautioning their staff about selling cheap liquor to customers.
Workers manning the counters at several shops in Brickfields told StarMetro that their bosses had warned them about possible raids by the authorities and they were instructed to move the compounded hard liquor sold in small bottles to the back of the shop.
“My boss instructed me to put back the bottles on the display cabinet earlier this week,” said a staff working at a local mart near the Monorail station.
He added that the bottles were removed from shelves in the first week of December as employers braced for enforcement operations.
The new regulation pertaining to control of alcohol came into effect on Dec 1.
The regulation, which comes under the Food Regulation Act 1985, states that cheap hard liquor can only be sold in 700ml bottles.
The bottle must carry the required warning label regarding the health risks of consuming alcohol. It is also illegal to sell alcoholic drinks to anyone below 21 years old. Previously, the age limit was 18.
Businesses must also display the required warning signs of the dangers of consuming the beverage in bold letters in their premises.
Those caught breaking the rules will face a fine of no more than RM10,000 or a jail term of up to two years.
StarMetro recently followed the Malaysian Anti-Cheap Liquor Movement members who are gathering data on the effectiveness of the new law on retailers and consumers in Brickfields.
“We expected this,” said the movements treasurer, Jason Raj.
“The proprietors will usually make a ‘show’ of following the rules by removing the bottles, but they would put them back when they feel the buzz has quieten down.
“Take this outlet as example. There is no signage on the legal age for alcohol consumption or dangers of alcohol. I don’t think any attempts have been made by the owner to adhere to the new regulation,” he added.
A check at several other places revealed a similar pattern.
Jason said the organisation would visit outlets across the country to gather information and carry out research on the situation as it was getting worse.
“We cannot ignore this and as it is, the situation is affecting our youths who are consuming alcohol at an alarming level.
“Alcohol consumed at a young age can interfere with the development of the kids and we cannot allow this to happen,” he said.
Last year, the movement collected 50,000 signatures nationwide to protest the sale of cheap liquor.
Their endeavour was instrumental in pushing the Government to listen to their pleas and eventually the Health Ministry introduced the new regulation in June last year.
StarMetro recently reported that despite the new laws, it was still easy for children to buy liquor.
This was compounded by the fact that there appeared to be a confusion on which agency should enforce the law with regard to sale and packing of alcoholic beverages.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz said the new ruling on Compounded Hard Liquor would be enforced in stages in the city from January onwards.
“All local authorities nationwide, including Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), were briefed about the enforcement by the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Excise Licensing Board, which comprises comprising the police, Customs Department and DBKL.
“We will be engaging with licence holders starting next year,” he said.