This file photo from 2016 shows the destruction of illegal spirits in Bogor, West Java. The police usually confiscate the beverages from sellers or producers who fail to pay the excises. (Antara Photo/Jafkhairi)

Islamic Parties, Gerindra Revive Alcoholic Drink Prohibition Bill

BY :JAKARTA GLOBE

NOVEMBER 11, 2020

Jakarta. Lawmakers from three parties that hold 26 percent seats in the House of Representatives have proposed to restart a discussion on an alcoholic drink prohibition bill, seeking to impose a blanket ban on the sale, production, distribution, and consumption of any beverage containing alcohol. 

The House first discuss the bill in 2015 but later decided to drop it after oppositions from the country's tourist center Bali, and Christian-majority eastern provinces. 

"This new bill is a continuation from the previous one," Ibnu Multazam, a deputy chairman of the House's Legislation Body, said on Tuesday. 

"The discussion will start again, picking up what's left from the previous period. The bill also bears the same name: Bill on the Prohibition of Alcoholic Drinks," Ibnu said. 

A lawmaker from Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto's Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), two from the Prosperous Justice Party, and 18 from the United Development Party (PPP) signed a letter proposing the bill discussion, Ibnu said. 

The body accepted the proposal on Sep 17, almost seven months since lawmakers submitted the proposal on Feb 24. 

"There is already a draft that is relatively the same as the bill previously discussed in [2015]," Ibnu said.

The bill's 2015 version included a blanket ban on all beverages containing more than 1 percent alcohol. If enacted, it would ban the sale, production, distribution, and consumption of all alcoholic beverages. It also threatens anyone drinking alcohol with up to two years in prison or a fine of up to Rp 50 million ($3,560).

One of the bill promoters Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal, who is also PPP's lawmaker from Aceh, the only province in Indonesia that implements Sharia law, said the bill seeks to prevent excessive use of alcohol that can be detrimental to health and cause psychological disorders and adverse social consequences.

"The bill on the Prohibition of Alcoholic Drinks is a bill proposed by lawmakers from PPP, PKS, and Gerindra that aim to protect the public from [alcohol's] negative impacts, creating order and peace and [protecting] the society from alcoholic drinkers," Illiza said. 

Today, Indonesia controls alcoholic drink sales using high excise and import duty rates. Some regions in Indonesia, like Aceh and Banten, impose bylaws restricting sales of alcoholic drinks in their respective jurisdiction. A 2015 ministerial regulation forbids sales of such beverages from all convenience stores.

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