The move, currently being deliberated by the House of Representatives, could spell a different kind of vacation for holidaymakers in Bali, the country’s most popular tourist destination.
That is, a dry one.
As a predominantly Muslim country, alcohol in Indonesia is already heavily taxed and expensive.
But the bill, introduced jointly by two Islamist parties, the United Development Party (PPP) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), would ban the production, distribution and consumption of drinks with an alcohol content of one to 55 percent, reports The Jakarta Post.
The bill claims its purpose is to “protect citizens from the negative impacts of alcoholic beverages, to raise awareness of the dangers of the beverages, and to ensure order and peace in society, free from disturbances caused by consumers”.
As outlined by a recent piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, bootleg alcohol has been a scourge for Indonesian health authorities, contributing to the deaths of 12 people in May who died within 24 hours of drinking the poisonous liquor, and another 26 people in February.
But a nationwide alcohol ban isn’t the answer, warns the hotel industry, which pointed out that such a drastic move would lead to disaster for the tourism sector, particularly as many Bali visitors hail from European countries with a strong drinking culture.
Alcohol is already banned in the province of Papua and the Surabaya in Java.
The government is expected to vote on the bill in the coming weeks.