Transport minister: No more requirement for liquor licence to sell alcohol following orders by MOF to Customs

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Staff arranging bottles of alcohol at Village Grocer in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, June 4, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Staff arranging bottles of alcohol at Village Grocer in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, June 4, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — The Royal Customs Department will cease enforcement of liquor licences for sales of alcoholic beverages in retail outlets following orders from the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Putrajaya announced today.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong confirmed the matter in a statement saying he had spoken with Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz who confirmed the orders were sent on November 23, 2021.

“MOF had issued an official letter to instruct the Customs Department to cancel the implementation of making liquor licences compulsory for selling alcoholic drinks,” he said.

The MCA president said this is since the MOF had in 1977 authorised the mentris besar and chief ministers in each state to handle this matter through the Licensing Board under their respective local governments.

“The Customs Department is part of the Licensing Board of each state and it had no power to instruct restaurant coffee shops to apply for liquor licences,” he said.

“Therefore MOF had cancelled the circular issued on April 7, which requested business owners to apply for liquor licences from the Customs Department before December 31.”

Wee also asserted that Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country where non-Muslims have the right to consume alcoholic drinks, and this matter must be respected.

On Monday, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng today questioned the government’s motives in enforcing limitations and new regulations on coffee shops selling alcohol, and whether such decisions were a sign of PAS’ extremist policies being upheld.

The Bagan MP said in a statement how a supposed move to compel coffee shop owners to obtain an alcohol licence before selling beer to non-Muslim patrons does not only incur additional costs for the business owners but also interferes with the practices and lifestyle of non-Muslims.

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