Coffee shop, restaurant owners against separate storage space for alcohol

According to the Food (Amendment) Regulations 2016, any alcoholic beverage displayed for sale in any retail outlet or sales counter must be displayed in a separate display cabinet or shelf by next year. — AFP pic
According to the Food (Amendment) Regulations 2016, any alcoholic beverage displayed for sale in any retail outlet or sales counter must be displayed in a separate display cabinet or shelf by next year. — AFP pic

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 25 — Coffee shops and restaurants will have to stock their alcoholic beverages in separate refrigerators or storage places away from other consumables, keeping in line with regulations which will be enforced nationwide next year.

However, the new ruling is not well received by industry players as they lament that they have to find additional space to store alcoholic drinks.

Penang-based Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association president Ho Su Meng said its members found the ruling not practical because of space constraints.

According to the Food (Amendment) Regulations 2016,  gazetted in May, the ruling with come into force on December 1 next year.

It states that any alcoholic beverage displayed for sale in any retail outlet or sales counter must be displayed in a separate display cabinet or shelf.

“All retailers or business outlets including our coffee shops  and food outlets have to place their alcoholic drinks in different cabinets away from other food and drinks,” Ho told Malay Mail.

“Our members face space constraints and it is not practical to purchase another fridge for the purpose,” he said.

“Buying another refrigerator also means incurring extra cost.

“As our members are trying to cut cost in order not to raise prices, we hope the government will consider not to enforce the law.”

Ho said the coffeeshops and restaurants had workers to handle the drinks properly and to make sure there was no contamination or mixture of alcoholic drinks with other beverages.

Under the law, offenders are liable to  a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or not more than two years' imprisonment upon conviction.

A coffee shop operator in Jalan Macalister, Tan Ai Lee, 41, said she was surprised when she heard of the ruling.

“Why the ruling after all this while,” she asked.

A restaurant operator in Tanjung Tokong, M. Karthik, said it would meaning spending extra money to stock alcoholic goods.

“Why force us with so many regulations when times are bad enough? My sales have been dwindling and my rental is going up every year,” he said.

“It will be difficult for me to buy another refrigerator or storage compartment during these trying times.”

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