Convenience stores and Chinese medical halls in the city will be allowed to sell hard liquor but subject to conditions, says Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim.
The concession was announced by the Federal Territories Minister after Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) Nov 1 ban on the sale of hard liquor at sundry shops, convenience stores and Chinese medical halls in the federal capital.
“For convenience stores, there cannot be a blanket approval for the permits but on a case-to-case basis.
“For example, there is a convenience store which has 137 outlets in the city.
“They may want permits for maybe only 50 to 60 outlets (so) this will be considered on a case-to-case basis,” Shahidan said when wrapping up his ministerial replies on Budget 2022 in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Nov 18).
He added that Chinese medical halls would also be allowed to sell hard liquor but for medicinal purposes.
“For Chinese medical halls, they can sell pure or adulterated liquor approved by the Health Ministry for traditional medicinal purposes only.
“So, I hope that this will not be made into an issue any longer,” he added.
Shahidan said several engagement sessions were held with the relevant stakeholders such as liquor manufacturers, bottlers and suppliers who were satisfied with the decision to restrict the sale of hard liquor at specific premises.
He added that even several religious bodies and non-governmental organisations have since expressed support for the decision.
“The decision to ban the sale of hard liquor at these premises does not touch on the sensitivity of any race, in particular for non-Muslims.
“It is more towards curbing the rise of social ills in KL related to the sale of illegal liquor,” he said.
He noted that there were some sundry shops selling cheap illegal liquor for below RM19 a bottle.
“We will hunt them down and take action against them,” he said.
He dismissed claims that the ban would affect efforts to develop Kuala Lumpur as a world-class city.
He noted that even Singapore and countries in Europe imposed restrictions and zoning of areas where hard liquor could be sold.
Earlier, several Opposition MPs, among them Tan Kok Wai (PH-Cheras) and Teresa Kok (PH-Seputeh), chided Shahidan over the decision to ban the sale of alcohol.
Tan said that Shahidan had promised a “win-win” solution during a recent meeting with Federal Territories MPs.
“Where is the win-win. It’s just empty promises,” he said.
Kok described the ban as double-standard as it affected small businesses.
The ban does not cover pubs, restaurants, supermarkets and licensed liquor outlets at malls.
Kok asked Shahidan why he kept insisting alcohol was a vice and should not be sold while simultaneously allowing it to be sold by hotels, supermarkets and large companies.
“On one hand, you bring up WHO (World Health Organisation), religious groups and so on condemning the sale of liquor and how it will affect society negatively, then the next time you say it can be bought in shopping complexes, pubs, hotels and supermarkets.
“Do you know hard liquor only makes up 6 percent of all sales nationwide? The majority of sales are from beer. So now you’re allowing hotels and supermarkets to sell but sundry shops cannot. This is discrimination against small businesses.
“This is double standards. These small shops have always adhered to the rule of law, but you keep talking about ‘samsu haram’. Who will openly sell samsu haram in 7-11, KK Mart and other convenience stores, I ask you? If so it’s a matter for the police,” she said in the Dewan Rakyat.
Today, parliamentarians also told Shahidan not to try and blame his predecessor, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, for the matter.