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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Amendments on alcohol purchase and consumption to be enforced on Dec 1, 2017

A recently gazetted alcohol purchase and consumption regulations will come into force on December 1, next year to curb the abuse of cheap liquor.

In announcing this today, Health Minister Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam said the amendments were made Regulation 361 of the Food Regulations on general standards for alcoholic beverages which was gazetted on May 27.

Those who do not comply to the amended regulations can be fined up to RM10,000 or two year jail sentence.

Dr Subramaniam said under the regulations alcohol can be sold or consumed only by those 21 years and above, unlike the current age of 18 years and it is mandatory that there are health hazard labels on the products.

"All alcohol retailers must display notices stating 'drinking alcohol is harmful to health' along with signs indicating that they will not sell to those below 21 years old," he told a press conference at the Health Ministry today.

The amendments also include a new regulation 386A for mixed hard liquor, or Compounded Hard Liquor (CHL), which requires the products to be sold in glass bottles with minimum 700ml content.

Dr Subramaniam said tax will be increased drastically for CHL, hiking its price from as low as RM5 per bottle to between RM40 to RM50 per bottle.

He said this will make CHL vastly unaffordable to the lower income group, which is the highest consumer of cheap liquor.

Failure to adhere to CHL regulations will result in a fine of no more than RM5,000 or a maximum of two year jail.

Dr Subramaniam said the amendments were made in consultation with the relevant stakeholders and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"The industry players said they needed time to implement the changes and thus appealed for the amended regulations to come into force in December next year," he said, adding the WTO had said that the regulations are not against world trade.

Dr Subramaniam said the Ministry will also work with the Urban Wellbeing, Housing, and Local Government Ministry to ban public drinking especially in places like parks.

He said the new regulations are part of a global strategy in which Malaysia is also involved to reduce alcohol consumption.

He added the ministry wants people to seriously take into account their health when consuming alcohol.

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