GEORGE TOWN: A group which has been active for several years advocating for the abolition of small, cheap bottled liquor today decried the government’s lack of will in implementing a ban.
Malaysia Anti-Cheap Liquor Movement chief P David Marshel said the government had amended a subsidiary regulation under the Food Act 1983 in 2016 to impose stricter restrictions on liquor bottlers.
The new restrictions require bottlers to sell liquor in larger bottles, making them pricier and discourage drinking. They are also to bear prominent warning labels stating “Alcohol consumption is hazardous to health”.
Marshel said it had been over two years and the new compliance requirement had been delayed twice, due to the government allowing repeated appeals from bottlers to extend the deadline.
Marshel said the bottlers had asked for more time to clear their existing stock, but he said this was clearly a delaying tactic as it had already been two years and their stocks would have been cleared by now.
“Now, the deadline has been pushed back to Sept 1. We are sceptical if the government will stick to this deadline.
“The government must stop listening to these bottlers as many are dying from consumption of cheap liquor.”
Marshel claimed more than 60 deaths had been linked to cheap liquor consumption since the amendment to the Act in 2016.
He said the government must immediately ban the sale of liquor in all retail outlets, including smaller sundry shops.
Marshel said liqueurs should be only sold in special, designated areas to allow for better monitoring and enforcement.
“Today, you can buy liquor as cheap as RM5 in sundry shops. We urge the finance ministry to set a minimum price of RM50 for liquor drinks,” he said.
Recently, 15 people died as a result of alcohol poisoning. Of the 15, five were reported in Perak, six in Penang and four in Johor.