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40 brands of illicit beverages with 16% alcohol on sale

June 8, 2016

Confederation of Malaysian Brewers Berhad calls for greater enforcement as it fears raising the age for buying legal alcohol to 21 may drive drinkers to buy these illicit products sold at RM3.50 a can.

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KUALA LUMPUR: A holistic approach is needed to ensure the effective implementation of a new age rule for purchasing alcoholic beverages, said the Confederation of Malaysian Brewers Berhad (CMBB).

CMBB lauded the government’s initiative to raise the legal purchasing age (LPA) from 18 to 21.

However, it said restricting access to legal alcohol without effective enforcement against contraband products would hamper the success of these new regulations.

“The significant and unabated growth of contraband over the last two years has resulted in the availability of more than 40 brands of illicit alcohol.

“These illicit products contain high alcohol content, some as high as 16% ABV (alcohol by volume), with a price as low as RM3.50 per can.

“This raises the question on product safety and quality, also tax related,” said CMBB in a statement here today.

Thus, enforcing new legislations in isolation may not be an effective deterrent since it would drive more underage consumers to buy cheaper and unsafe contraband products, said CMBB.

It said CMBB was committed to all efforts aimed at encouraging responsible consumption and would continue to drive greater responsibility amongst retailers and consumers.

For the past five years, CMBB members like Heineken Malaysia Berhad and Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad have invested more than RM4.5 million on the “Drink Responsibly and Drink Sensibly” programmes, it said.

Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam, on June 1, announced that the new minimum age to purchase alcohol was 21 years.

It will be effective from Dec 1, 2017 as per the amendment made to Food Regulations 1985.

In the amendment, the government will also impose the compulsory display of the warning label “Drinking Alcohol Is Injurious to Health” on alcohol and impose additional tax on compound hard liquor (CHL).

– BERNAMA


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