The Customs Department has been instructed to reverse the liquor licencing policy on restaurants and coffee shops nationwide.
In a statement by MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, he said the decision to revoke the policy was confirmed by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, who is currently in Singapore on an official trip.
“He had confirmed that the Finance Ministry (MoF) had indeed canceled the above directives and had promised to instruct the Customs Department to abide by this decision.” Wee said.
Wee added the Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association president Wong Tee Hong has approached him and the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong when the association first received the circular on the requirement for a liquor licence to sell alcohol.
According to Malaysiakini, the annual licence fees would cost local businesses about RM840 to RM1,320, depending on the operating hours.
It was also revealed that in the middle of November, some restaurant and coffee shop owners in certain states were invited to attend briefings by the Customs Department and were being instructed to apply for liquor licences from the Customs Department. This then led to the uproar among coffee shop operators.
“Three weeks ago, I once again spoke to Tengku Zafrul on this matter.” Wee said.
In his Facebook post, Wee also share the an official letter by MoF on 23 November to instruct the Customs Department to cancel the implementation of compulsory liquor licences for sales of alcoholic drinks.
“This is because MoF had in 1977 authorised the menteris besar and chief ministers of 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 has no powers to instruct restaurants and coffee shops to apply for liquor licences.”
“Therefore, the ministry had cancelled the circular issued on 7 April that requested business owners to apply for liquor licences from the Customs Department before 31 December.” he added.
He then said Malaysia is a multiracial and multi-religious country, and we should respect the rights of non-Muslims to drink alcohol.
Despite the licencing requirement being revoked, the restrictions on the sale of alcohol that was enforced in Perlis, Kedah and Kuala Lumpur are still intact.
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