MHA: Australia, US and UK have Restrictions on Alcohol Sale, so S’pore Should Have Too

The government is using the liquor control measures in cities in Australia, the US, and the UK to justify the restrictions on the selling and consumption of alcohol in Singapore.

Yesterday, parliament debated a bill which will allow the government to have a blanket ban on the take-away sales and consumption of alcohol after 10.30pm every day. Only licensed premises will still be able to sell alcohol outside the stipulated timings but the alcohol has to be consumed with these premises, otherwise it will be an offence.

Singaporeans will not even be able to drink alcohol on the corridors of their flats or at barbecues from 10.30pm to 7am. If they want to do so, they would have to apply for a permit. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that it wants to implement a blanket ban because it is easier to enforce. 

But MHA is also taking the examples of other countries to justify the restrictions.

“MHA also studied liquor control measures in cities in Australia, the US, and the UK. Many have restrictions on retail sale for take-away liquor and the consumption of liquor in public places that have been in force for some time. 

“Most of them are significantly more restrictive than the proposed measures in this Bill,” MHA claimed.

Channel NewsAsia also reported on the restrictions and tried to portray the “partial” restrictions in Singapore, as relatively better to the “complete” restriction in cities such as New York City, Oslo, Perth and Brisbane.

However, several commenters on Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook page decry the government’s actions. 

“Now is the comparing phase,” one commenter said.

Another said, “Look at the reasons for their alcohol ban, and Singapore’s (restrictions) looks like a fat joke trying to join the big leagues. 

“Our reason? Because our police force can’t intimidate third world foreign workers from India.”

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“Take note when its applicable to New York City, it not to the whole state of New York,” another said.

“New York City is small compared to New York state.”

Indeed, the restrictions in Australia, US and the UK are only for parts of the country and cities and not for the whole country.

“Propaganda,” one person called the Channel NewsAsia out.

“Since like comparing so much, why not dear govt, pls compare our salaries to first world countries?? If you cant do that, dont yaya monkey see monkey do,” still one person said.

Indeed, what is worrying is that even as the government claimed that it “conducted two public consultation exercises between October 2013 and August 2014, and received close to 400 pieces of written feedback” and that “There was strong support from most respondents for measures to better manage retail sale hours for take-away liquor and the consumption of liquor in public places,” the government has not published any report on its findings.

Moreover, the methodology of the study and the selection of the sample study group is also not known. 

What’s more, a Straits Times poll with more than 9,000 respondents showed that 78 percent of Singaporeans disagree with the ban, which thus questions the so-called “consultation” conducted by the government. 

This has caused discomfort among many Singaporeans with the blanket ban on alcohol sales and consumption. Where Singaporeans feel that they do not have a say in the new policy and have not been adequately consulted on, the ban feels like another unfair policy forced down the throats of Singapore. 

It is also a silly excuse to claim that Singapore should follow because US, UK and Australia have similar policies. If this was a good justification for the rules, then Singapore should also abolish the death penalty and decriminalise homosexuality as these countries* have also already done this long ago.

(*Most states in the US have abolished the death penalty, there are just a handful yet to abolish it. All these three countries do not criminalize homosexuality like Singapore still does.)


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