KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 ― The Federal Territories Ministry has yet to make a decision on whether or not to proceed with banning grocery and convenience stores in Kuala Lumpur from selling alcoholic beverages, which is supposed to take effect from October 1.
Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the issue has been postponed for the time being to enable discussions with several parties.
“We are still having meetings with some parties over the matter, I will include Seputeh in the discussion.
“This is a Keluarga Malaysia government, we will look for a reason to cooperate before making a decision,” he said during Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Shahidan was replying to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok who asked about the postponement of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) guidelines on liquor sales that was supposed to be implemented on October 1.
The Arau MP said the reason for banning liquor sales from grocery and convenience stores was to ensure alcohol would not be made available in public places.
He said the objective was to curb social problems and ensure that those under age 21, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, would not easily get their hands on alcoholic beverages.
“Even if there is a ban on selling alcohol at sundry shops and convenience stores, non-Muslims can still drink alcohol at pubs, bars and hotels as well as stores that exclusively sell liquor,” Shahidan said.
Kok had questioned the ruling, which she said had affected business at Chinese Medicine Halls that sell products containing alcohol for health reasons.
“Why did DBKL want to disturb small business owners? If people want to drink, they can go buy alcohol online which would not stop illegal selling of alcohol,” she said.
On September 30, DBKL said in a statement that it would not be enforcing the ban pending a study related to the control of liquor sales in Kuala Lumpur.
However, it maintained that “the availability and accessibility of liquor has been the subject of complaints and protests as it can be detrimental to public order”.
The statement also said that liquor sales in grocery shops, convenience stores and Chinese medicine halls can continue till October 30.