CHINESE medical halls and sundry shops in the country’s capital can continue to sell hard liquor as long as they apply to renew their licences, says Excise Licensing Board of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (ELBKL).
ELBKL chairman Dr Ronald Pua said that as long as these businesses complied with regulations, they would be allowed to sell alcoholic drinks.
“There is no blanket ban on the sale of liquor, rather applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.
“As long as applicants comply with the requirements, including getting relevant permits and licences, their applications (to sell liquor) will be considered,” he told StarMetro.
Pua said this was one of the decisions made by the new ELBKL committee during its first meeting last week.
“As the board has not met in more than a year, there is a backlog. But we are expediting the process.
“I urge businesses who have expired or lapsed licences, to send in their applications.”
It was reported that ELBKL had renewed 1,519 applications for liquor licences in its first meeting held on Nov 23, including those from Chinese medicine halls and convenience stores.
The board was also reported to have received 513 new applications for liquor licences.
This is effectively a reversal of a 2021 decision by the Federal Territories ministry (now known as the Federal Territories Department) to disallow outlets like sundry shops, convenience stores and Chinese medical halls from selling hard liquor.
Under Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) updated guidelines that took effect on Nov 1, 2021, those shops were only allowed to sell beer from 7am to 9pm.
Federal Territory and Selangor Chinese Medicine/Drug Sellers Association president Alex Ma said members were glad to hear they would be allowed to sell liquor once again.
He said members had been asked to send in their applications to renew their licences.
“Hopefully it will be approved soon, because Christmas and Chinese New Year are around the corner,” he said when contacted.
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said the decision was a positive move.
“Flip-flop decisions create a lot of uncertainty in the business community.
“Such decisions in the future must have stakeholders’ engagement,” she said.
Kok said that sellers were conscious of regulations and sensitivities in such matters.
She believes the merchants will follow the guidelines.
“The government should be business-friendly, especially in a capital city like Kuala Lumpur which welcomes many foreign tourists,” she added.
A DBKL spokesperson said a statement on liquor sales applications would be issued soon.