Last year, Indonesia successfully banned the sales of alcoholic beverages in mini marts. But a new bill being considered in the parliament could ban alcohol in the entire country, affecting Indonesia’s billion dollar tourism and hospitality industries.
CCTV’s Silkina Ahluwalia has the report.
The party could be over in Indonesia, as lawmakers are seriously considering a bill that will make it difficult to obtain alcohol.
It was proposed by two Islamist parties, the United Development Party and Prosperous Justice Party.
Both groups believe the bill would protect citizens from the negative impacts of alcohol.
“Every day, we see crimes and incidents of all levels from small to large that’s always influenced by alcohol. Is it due to excessive drinking or of an illegal concoction, we don’t know yet but that is what we hope to control through this bill,” Chairman of United Development Party, Arwani Thomafi said.
The move shows that Indonesia is looking to adopt a strict Islamic identity.
Alcohol distribution is already restricted around Indonesia. Last year, the country banned small retailers from selling alcoholic beverages in mini marts.
That alone is already affecting the tourism industry, clashing with the government’s efforts to boost foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia.
“Alcohol has already become a part of many people’s lifestyle here, especially tourists that visit Indonesia. There will be a huge psychological impact from this bill that will definitely stop foreigners from wanting to visit our country,” Vice Chairman of Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association, Rainier Daulay said.
As an owner of several hotels in Bali, Daulay sees a major impact to the economy if this bill moves ahead.
“On behalf of Indonesia’s Hotel and Restaurant Association, I believe this bill is absolutely unnecessary. What we need is for the government to monitor distribution and sales, not regulations to ban alcohol consumption. Personally, I think this plan should not continue forward.” Daulay said.
Daulay said the plan could also pose a serious threat to public safety and health.
A total ban on booze might increase cases of alcohol poisoning as people will resort to buying fake alcoholic beverages from the black market. But the government said they’re currently focusing on controlling the industry rather than imposing a total ban. That way, it’s easier for them monitor the illegal sellers in small provinces across Indonesia.