Several business groups have voiced objections to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) 2021 liquor licensing guidelines, which would forbid grocery shops, convenience stores and traditional Chinese medicine shops from selling hard liquor from October next year.

Malaysiakini spoke to Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Wine and Spirit Chinese Dealers Association secretary Albert Chooi Leong Peow who said the move will not only hurt businesses already affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also affect the government's revenue via tax income.

"If they don't release the licences, how do we make a living? And that also means the government will not get taxes," Chooi was quoted saying, adding that the ban could also contribute to an increase in smuggled spirits.

"Alcohol is sold in almost every capital city in the world. Why are we going backwards?" he reportedly asked, dubbing the move regressive.

According to Chooi, liquor merchants associations will meet soon to discuss the guidelines, before their grievances are brought to DBKL.

The portal also spoke to Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Association president Hong Chee Meng who voiced similar concerns, and raised the possibility of the move being applied nationwide in the future.

DAP has also previously slammed DBKL's announcement, with its national chairman and Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai claiming that the new ruling violated the constitutional rights of non-Muslims.

According to the new guidelines released by DBKL, grocery shops, convenience stores and Chinese medicine shops in Kuala Lumpur will no longer be allowed to sell haerd liquor from Oct 1, 2021.

Stores that have existing licences can only renew them until Sept 30, 2021.

Besides this, stores that are facing police stations, schools, hospitals, and places of worship, will also be prohibited from selling hard liquor.

Source: Malaysiakini,
Photo source: Malay Mail