Wee’s acceptance of letting state licensing authorities to decide is irresponsible: DAP Sec-Gen Guan Eng

Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 8.12.2021:

Will Wee Ka Siong Assume Full Responsibility If Any State Licensing Authority Imposes Alcohol Licensing For The Selling Of Beer By Coffee Shops And Restaurants?

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong’s claim that the Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s willingness to 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, has resolved the issue begs the question. Will Wee Ka Siong assume full responsibility if any state licensing authority imposes alcohol licensing for the selling of beer by coffee shops and restaurants?

This so-called revocation of requiring licensing for sale of beer announced by Wee is no revocation at all because the decision whether to impose licensing fees of up to RM1,300 is now given to the state government’s licensing authority. This is different from the current position where the Finance Ministry makes the same recommendation that was made for the last 45 years under the 1976 Excise Act that there was no need to license the sale of beer as alcohol.

If Wee claims that the issue is resolved, then the Finance Minister should announce that the decision whether to impose licensing on sale of beer should not be surrendered to the respective state licensing authority but must revert back to the previous position for the last 45 years. Clearly, this is a Federal power exercised by the Finance Minister because selling liquor without a license can be fined RM50,000 under the 1976 Excise Act and not under state laws.

Why give power to the state licensing authority which was not there? By surrendering his powers to the respective state government is an abdication of responsibility to exercise power over what is within the purview of the Finance Ministry. For PH-controlled state governments, the restaurant and coffee shop operators are safe but what about other state governments deeply influenced by PAS extremist policies that adversely affect the customary lifestyle and normal business practices of non-Muslims.

This is because the Finance Ministry will remain silent and do nothing when some state governments influenced by the extremist PAS policies decide to impose alcohol licensing fees on coffee shops and restaurants. Even Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur banned sundry shops, convenience stores and Chinese medicine halls from selling liquor which had been sold undisturbed since Merdeka in 1957 even though DBKL knows that this is sold only to non-Muslims.

For this reason, at a meeting with the association KL-Selangor Coffee Shops and Restaurant operators yesterday, reiterated their position that the Federal government must 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. Wee’s acceptance of letting state licensing authorities to decide is irresponsible and unacceptable to restaurant and coffee shop operators because beer sales which were never required to be licensed before, now may be subject to some state governments imposing licensing fees.

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8日在吉隆坡发表文告:

如果任何州执照局落实咖啡店和餐厅需拥有售啤酒执照的措施,那么魏家祥是否会对此承担起全部责任?

交通部长魏家祥声称财政部长东姑扎夫鲁愿意撤销关税局要求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,已经解决了问题。如果任何州执照局落实咖啡店和餐厅需拥有售啤酒执照的措施,那么魏家祥是否会对此承担起全部责任?

魏家祥宣布的所谓取消啤酒执照,并不是真的被取消了,因为现在是交由州政府执照局来决定是否执行可高达1300令吉的执照费。这不同于当前的情况,即财政部在过去45年来皆根据1976年国产税法令提出相同的建议,即商家无需拥啤酒执照。

如果魏家祥声称问题已被解决,那么财政部长就应该宣布,不会交由各州执照局来决定是否需要落实啤酒执照,而是恢复到过往45年来的安排。显然的,这是财政部长可行使的联邦权力,因为无执照售酒可在1976年国产税下被罚款,而不是在州法律上受惩罚。

那为何要将权力下放给州执照局?财政部将权力下放给各州政府,是在放弃行使其职责范围内的权力的责任。对于希盟执政的州属而言,该州的餐厅和咖啡店的经营者是安全的,但其他深受伊斯兰党极端主义政策影响的州政府呢?这项政策将对非穆斯林惯常的生活方式和一般商业活动产生不利影响。

这是因为当一些受到伊斯兰党极端主义政策影响的州政府决定要求州内的咖啡店和餐厅申请售酒执照时,财政部将沉默以对,不会采取任何行动。自我国于1957年独立以来,杂货店、便利店和中药行可在不受干扰的情况下售卖烈酒。尽管吉隆坡市政厅知道商家们只将酒卖给非穆斯林,但该厅仍颁发禁令,禁止杂货店、便利店和中药行出售烈酒。

因此,我在昨天与吉隆坡雪兰莪咖啡酒餐商公会会面后,就再次重申他们的立场,即政府应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。魏家祥同意交由州执照局做决定,对餐厅和咖啡店经营者而言是不负责任和不可被接受的。因为之前无需执照就可售卖啤酒,但现在一些州属却可能征收执照费。

林冠英

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