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Government Reverts The Requirement Of Liquor Licences To Sell Beer At Kopitiams

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the Ministry of Finance (MOF) had on 23 November told the Customs Department to cancel the implementation.

Cover image via Sinar Harian & Reuters via The News Lens

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The government has back-pedalled on its decision that requires kopitiams and restaurants to have liquor licences to sell beer at their premises

In a statement yesterday, 7 December, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said that he had personally spoken to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz about the matter, reported Free Malaysia Today.

"He confirmed that the Ministry of Finanice had indeed cancelled the above directive and promised to instruct the Customs Department to abide by this decision," he said.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

Image via Kosmo

According to Wee, MOF had on 23 November ordered the Customs Department to cancel the implementation of making liquor licences compulsory in order to sell alcoholic drinks

He said he and International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong immediately got to work after some restaurant and coffee shop owners were told about the new implementation.

He said the matter caused an uproar among stakeholders.

"Three weeks ago, I again spoke to Tengku Zafrul on this matter," The Star quoted Wee as saying.

"On 23 November, MOF had issued an official letter to instruct the Customs Department to cancel the implementation of making liquor licences compulsory for selling alcoholic drinks."

"This is because the MOF had in 1977 authorised chief ministers in each state to handle this matter through the Licensing Board under the respective local governments."

"The Customs Department is part of the Licensing Board of each state and it had no power to instruct restaurants and coffee shops to apply for liquor licences."

"Therefore, MOF had cancelled the circular issued on 7 April, which requested business owners to apply for liquor licences from the Customs Department before 31 December," Wee, who is also the Transport Minister, gave a rundown of the issue.

The MCA president added that Malaysia is a multiracial and multireligious country where non-Muslims have the right to drink alcohol

Hence, he said their freedom should be respected.

Wee is currently outside of Malaysia to conduct bilateral talks with delegations from various countries.

On Sunday, 5 December, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng criticised non-Muslim ministers in the Cabinet for allowing the government to infringe the lifestyle of non-Muslim Malaysians.

Lim said the liquor licence requirement at kopitiams interfered with "the customary lifestyle and business practices" of non-Muslim Malaysians:

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