KUALA LUMPUR: The planned change of the legal purchasing age of alcohol from 18 to 21 might be fruitless if proper enforcement of contraband is not done, said the Confederation of Malaysian Brewers Berhad (CMBB)
"Restricting access to legal alcohol without effective enforcement against contraband products will hamper the success of the new regulations,” said the CMBB in a statement on Wednesday.
CMBB added that contraband products are priced cheaply, from as low as RM3.50 per can.
It added that the quality of these products cannot be guaranteed, with some containing alcohol content as high as 16% ABV (alcohol by volume).
“These products are not duty-paid, hence representing a significant loss of revenue to the Government in terms of uncollected taxes. Worryingly, this low price enables underage consumers to gain easy access to unregulated and unsafe products,” said CMBB.
The Confederation added that up to 40 brands of contraband alcohol have made their way onto the local market in the last two-years, suggesting a growing popularity for the products here.
"CMBB is concerned that the growing availability of illicit products, if left unchecked, will undermine the new ruling," it said.
It added that changing the legal purchasing age in isolation might not be an effective deterrent as it could drive more underage consumers to cheap and unsafe contraband products.
“On its part, CMBB acknowledges the regulatory change and will continue to drive the responsible drinking agenda," it said.