Negative economic impact from KL liquor sale restrictions, groups warn

Fion Yap
·2-min read
Negative economic impact from KL liquor sale restrictions, groups warn
Negative economic impact from KL liquor sale restrictions, groups warn

The new liquor licence guidelines in Kuala Lumpur are being met with contempt by business owners, who warned that the policy will negatively impact the nation's economy, which is already suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The guidelines issued by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) on Monday, state that sundry shops, convenience stores and Chinese medicine halls will no longer be allowed to sell hard liquor from Oct 1 next year.

Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Wine and Spirit Chinese Dealers Association secretary Albert Chooi Leong Peow said this move will not just hurt businesses, but the government's tax income as well.

“If they don’t release the licences, how do we make a living? And that also means the government will not get taxes,” Chooi told Malaysiakini.

Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Association president Hong Chee Meng also voiced a similar opinion.

Hong Chee Meng
Hong Chee Meng

"We are facing the worst time for the economy. Every business, including those that sell liquor, is struggling to boost the economy.

"The policy, which is currently implemented within Kuala Lumpur, may not severely affect the country (now), but what if the authorities extend it to the entire country one day?

"The tax revenue will be reduced and it is definitely a loss for Malaysia," Hong said.

Besides sales tax, liquor is also subject to excise duties.

Albert Chooi Leong Peow
Albert Chooi Leong Peow

Chooi, who is also the Associated Liquor Merchants Association secretary-general, said that other than the loss of tax revenue, further restricting the sale of liquor could also contribute to an increase in smuggled spirits.

He added that the policy announced by DBKL was regressive.

"Alcohol is sold in almost every capital city in the world. Why are we going backwards?"

Chooi said the liquor merchants associations will hold meetings soon and discuss the new guidelines with elected representatives before approaching DBKL with their grievances.