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


Press Conference Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP Selangor strongly objects to the decision made by the Selangor state government that food outlets are given 3 months to remove all signboards with liqour advertisement.

On 23 Dec 2002, Selangor Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo announced unilaterally 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. The state government later postponed its action and instead set up a committee to study the matter after immense protest from the coffeeshop owners, hawkers and the DAP. The recent decision made by the state government is totally unacceptable for many reasons.

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.

The business of all food outlets were already down by more than 40% because of SARS. 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 foreigners  enjoy beer and liquor.

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.


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP Selangor Secretary