Nothing to stop state governments from imposing alcohol licensing fees to traders: DAP Sec-Gen Guan Eng

Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 7.12.2021:

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong posted a Mandarin statement in his facebook account stating that the Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz will revoke the Customs Department policy requiring restaurants and coffee shops selling beer/stout must obtain an alcohol license with fees of up to RM1,300. However, there was no statement in English or Bahasa Malaysia accompanying the Mandarin statement in Wee’s facebook.

Wee said that the Customs Department directive issued to various state and local governments would be revoked as the state authority would decide on whether to impose any conditions including enforcing the licensing requirement. This is similar to the response I had obtained from the Finance Ministry.

“Salam YB, saya ambil maklum perkara ini walaubagaimanapun, pelesenan dan pelaksanaan penguatkuasaan pelesenan penjualan liquor adalah di bawah bidang kuasa Lembaga Pelesenan yang dilantik melalui pemberian kuasa Menteri Kewangan kepada Menteri Besar/Ketua Menteri pada tahun 1977. Oleh itu, pelaksanaan dan penguatkuasaan pelesenan penjualan liquor adalah mengikut budi bicara Lembaga Pelesenan yang ditubuhkan di peringkat PBT, dan Jabatan Kastam sebagai ahli dalam mesyuarat Lembaga Pelesenan tersebut perlu mendapatkan keputusan Lembaga Pelesenan negeri berhubung sebarang isu pelaksanaan penguatkuasaan yang berbangkit.

Oleh yang demikian, rayuan berkenaan perlesenan penjualan liquor runcit perlu dibuat kepada Lembaga Perlesenan di peringkat negeri peruncit masing-masing.”

Previously, there was no enforcement of a regulation requiring alcohol licenses for business establishments such as coffee shops and restaurants selling beer. The state government need not decide whether selling beer requires an alcohol license as it was considered within the purview of the Finance Ministry. For this reason in the past, this requirement of alcohol license for selling beer has never been an issue for the state licensing authority.

However, in recent letters by the Customs Department on 16 August and 8 September 2021 to the  various state licensing authorities that under such powers as exercised by them under the 1976 Excise Act, the Customs Department recommended the licensing of beer as alcohol be required. The Customs Director-General even stated that after getting the views of the Finance Ministry, enforcement action will be taken under the Excise Act on the selling of beer in coffee shops and restaurants that must be licensed as alcohol.

Even though the Finance Ministry has revoked the ruling of selling beer as requiring an alcohol license, there is nothing to stop the state government from doing so because the Finance Ministry is letting the state licensing authority decide. For the Finance Ministry not to exercise its power but recommend that it is up to the state licensing authority may result in some state governments deciding to impose licensing of selling beer as alcohol with license fees of up to RM1,300.

Whilst this may not be a concern in PH-controlled state governments, this may pose a problem for other state governments especially those influenced by the extremist PAS. Witness Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur that imposed bans on sundry shops and Chinese medicine halls selling alcohol.

DAP urges the Federal government to revert to the previous position that automatically permits coffee shops and restaurants to continue to sell beer without paying fees of alcohol license up to RM1,300/-.

LIM GUAN ENG


民主行动党秘书长兼峇眼区国会议员林冠英于2021年12月7日在吉隆坡发表文告:

交通部长魏家祥今日在其脸书专页发表中文声明,指财政部长扎夫鲁将指示关税局,取消餐厅和咖啡店售卖啤酒需申请费用高达1300令吉酒牌的措施。不过,魏家祥的脸书并没有发表英文或马来文声明。

根据魏家祥,关税局将撤回早前向各州和地方政府所发出的指令,并由各州相关单位决定是否施加任何条件,包括执行发牌规定。这番说辞,与我从财政部所得到的回应相似。

“尊敬的议员,你好。我已获悉这件事,不过,售酒执照的发行和执法,已在1977年由财政部长下放权力予各州大臣和首长,由酒牌委员会管辖。因此,售酒执照的执行和执法将由地方政府成立的酒牌委员会酌情处理,而关税局只是酒牌委员会会议的成员之一,任何被提及的执法问题皆需由酒牌委员会做决定。

因此,有关零售执照的上诉应提交给相应的州级酒牌委员会。”

以前,政府并没有强制要求有售卖啤酒的咖啡店和餐厅等商业机构需申请售酒执照。州政府无需决定销售啤酒是否需要售酒执照,因为这被视为是财政部的范畴。为此,有关销售啤酒的售酒执照要求从来都不是州执照局的问题。

然而,在关税局于2021年8月16日和9月8日发出给各州执照局的信函中,指该局根据1976年国产税法令行使权力,建议需拥有啤酒执照。关税局总监甚至表示,在征询财政部的意见后,该局将依据国产税法令展开执法行动,要求有售卖啤酒的咖啡店和餐厅需拥有售酒执照。

尽管财政部已撤回销售啤酒也需要申请执照的决定,但却没有什么可以阻止州政府这么做,因为财政部已交由州执照局自行做出决定。如果财政部不行使其权力,而是建议由州执照局自行决定,可能导致一些州政府决定执行啤酒执照,而执照费可高达1300令吉。

虽然这对希盟州政府可能不是问题,但是这可能会给其他州政府带来问题,尤其是那些受到伊斯兰党极端分子影响的州政府。吉隆坡市政厅就禁止杂货店和中药行售卖烈酒。

民主行动党促请联邦政府恢复先前的安排,即自动允许咖啡店和餐厅可继续售卖啤酒,且无需支付高达1300令吉的执照费用。

林冠英

Scroll to Top