Coffee shop operators will be badly hit with licence requirement to sell beer, says association

PETALING JAYA: Coffee shops nationwide will be hit hard when its operators are required to apply for a licence to sell beer and stout starting next year.

This is on top of them having to increase the prices of beverages to bolster the increasing cost of raw ingredients, said Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietor General Association president Wong Teu Hoon.

He said its members were upset at the ruling as it would place a heavy burden on coffee shop operators.

“The licence for the sales of beer and stout has been exempted since 1994 and removing the exemption next year would negatively impact the operators greatly.

“Beer and stout were sold as a side product and the sales of these alcoholic beverages only contribute minor profits to the operators.

“Once the licence is enforced, the sales of beer and stout would not cover the expenses needed for the licence,” he said.

The association had written to the Finance Ministry in September to highlight their plight and urged the ministry to withdraw the ruling.

“Currently, we do not have much information from relevant authorities about the new ruling, but we will continue to appeal to the relevant agencies.

“Hopefully, the government can withdraw the ruling as it will affect coffee shop operators badly especially when all of us are recovering (economically) from the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

An online portal had reported that the Customs Department had issued two circulars in June and August to all its division heads, state-level directors and various local authorities, including Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), to enforce liquor licences in all restaurants and coffee shops from Jan 1 next year.

In response, Selangor local government, public transportation and new village development committee chairman Ng Sze Han said the state government had never received any letter or briefing from the Customs Department.

"It will have a huge financial impact on restaurant operators, and it is not appropriate to be implemented in a hurry," he said.

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