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Selangor Ignores Federal Directive, Will Not Enforce License For Liquor Sales

The Selangor State Government has decided to use its state powers to disregard a directive from the Federal Government.

As such, coffee shops will not be compelled to apply for a licence to sell beer at their premises.

At a press conference held in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, Ng Sze Han who is Selangor’s Local Government, Public Transportation and New Village Development Committee Chairman said that the issue had been discussed with Selangor Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari, and a decision has been made.

“This is an additional burden for them (coffee shop operators) because they don’t make a profit from selling beer.”

“And with the cost of RM1,300 a year for the licence during the pandemic when they are recovering it will be a burden and this fee should not be imposed,” said Sze Han.

According to two circulars issued in June and August, the Customs Department informed all its division heads, state-level directors, and various local authorities — including Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) — that all restaurants and coffee shops will need liquor licences before they can sell beer at their premises.

But the issue was only revealed to the public when Petaling Jaya Coffeeshop Association President, Keu Kok Meng revealed the matter to China Press on 2 December.

Kok Meng confirmed that the new enforcement will come into effect 1 January 2022, and added that the enforcement came as a surprise.

According to him, restaurants and coffee shops will need to fork out an additional RM840 and RM1,320 per annum, depending on operation hours.

He added that he and other members of the industry raised objections during the meeting, but they were told to write to the Ministry of Finance for any complaints.

He also stressed that it is inappropriate for the Federal Government to make such enforcement at this juncture because the food and beverage industry has just entered the stage of recovery after struggling to survive during the pandemic.

For the record, the Federal Government had in 1977 enacted a Customs and Excise Department Act compelling all sales of liquor to be licensed.

Nevertheless, in the very same year, the Ministry of Finance tbrough the Excise Regulations 1977 authorised the Menteri Besars and Chief Ministers in each state to handle this matter through the Licensing Board under their respective local governments.

While the Customs Department is part of the Licensing Board of each state, it has no power to instruct restaurant coffee shops to apply for liquor licences.

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