The restriction on liquor advertisements at all food outlets is unreasonable and should be revoked

Press Statement
Ronnie Liu Thian Chiew

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP Selangor strongly objects to the announcement made by Selangor Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo on 23rd December 2002 that food outlets in the state will not be allowed to put up liquor advertisements on their signboards without prior approval from the local authorities.

There is no good reason why such condition for liquor advertisements should be imposed on food outlets except for those that sell liquor as their core business which are permitted to use such advertisements on their signboards. By right, all food outlets that sell food and liquor should be allowed to advertise liquor as has been the practice all along without being made to go through the hassle of seeking approval since liquor is also one of the items sold.

Such a move is bound to affect the business of food outlets generally and their liquor sales particularly, including that of liquor manufacturers, apart from arousing feelings of unhappiness and discontent among them. Besides it would also hamper the government's effort to attract foreign tourists into the country since many Westerners enjoy beer and liquor.

The question also arises whether the announcement made by the Mentri Besar reflected only his personal views instead of the result of a collective decision by the Selangor State EXCO. It would have been more appropriate and reflective of the spirit of democracy for Khir Toyo to first consult the State EXCO and sample the views of food outlet owners and hawkers as well as the general public before proceeding with such a measure which have caught many by surprise.

In a pluralistic society like ours, the right to put up liquor advertisements should be upheld. Khir Toyo should not attempt to curtail such advertisements which are mainly found in non-Muslim eateries by subjecting the latter to the dictates of the Islamic religion especially as other states do not have such a policy. The Perak State government, for instance, had given assurance to food outlet operators that it would not clamp down on beer advertisements.

Selangor DAP therefore urges the Mentri Besar to review the condition and to revoke the notices which have been issued to owners of food outlets instructing them to remove liquor advertisements so as not to impose unnecessary burden on them. We will also launch a statewide signature campaign tomorrow to find out the views of owners and hawkers in food outlets as to whether they agree or disagree with such a move.


* Ronnie Liu Thian Kiew, DAP Selangor Secretary