PETALING JAYA: A business group has welcomed the move after two years to lift a ban on liquor sales in Kuala Lumpur, saying it aligns with the multiculturalism associated with Malaysia.
Hong Chee Meng, president of the Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Associations of Malaysia, also expressed relief at the lifting of the ban, adding that it “always gave (the association) headaches”.
“We are a multiracial country. A big portion of our population are Chinese and Indians, so I think this is a good decision by DBKL (Kuala Lumpur city hall) since we also get many tourists,” Hong said.
Under the ban, which took effect in November 2021, the sale of hard liquor or distilled spirits was barred at sundry, convenience and Chinese medicine stores. However, customers were still allowed to buy beer from these premises from 7am to 9pm.
The ban was lifted last week following the appointment of new committee members to DBKL’s excise licensing board.
At the first meeting of the new committee on Nov 23, the board also approved 1,519 applications for liquor licences.
In an interview with Sin Chew Daily, board vice-chairman Pooi Weng Keong said while the sale of alcohol at these stores had been the centre of debate in 2021, the new committee did not view it as an issue.
He also said the committee would meet again on Dec 20 to review new applications for liquor licences.
Speaking to FMT, Pooi said they would follow the guidelines in place for the approval process of these applications.
He said the seven committee members were appointed by the new government in August, but had met only recently because of delays and scheduling restrictions.