pic by BERNAMA
THE liquor sales licensing still remains as gazetted in 1977 as the Licensing Board has not made any amendments to it.
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) said that recently there has been confusion in the implementation and enforcement of liquor licences at the state level.
“As of today, no amendments have been made to the aforementioned delegation of power, where state governments have the power to make decisions related to liquor licensing.
“I would like to give my assurance that the empowerment given to the states through a gazetted order in 1977 remains without any changes,” Tengku Zafrul told Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
In a reply to Damansara MP Tony Pua, he pressed that the liquor licensing is under the jurisdiction of the Licensing Board which was appointed by the Finance Ministry (MoF) to the chief minister by order gazetted in 1977.
He also noted that the existing policy outlines that retail minimum sales on premises must be licensed under the Excise Act 1976.
Therefore, any licensing of the sale of liquor shall obtain the approval of the Licensing Board, pursuant to Section 35 of the Excise Act 1976, he said.
“In this regard, I have ordered the Customs Department to take immediate action to update any order or guideline that has been issued to avoid further confusion, with the matter to be resolved by the end of the year (Dec 31),” he added.
Tengku Zafrul said any issue pertaining to licensing or exemption from licensing is subject to the full power of state governments.
He stressed that any claim or imputation that he had revoked the representation of such powers is completely false.
On Wednesday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the MoF has directed the Royal Customs Department of Malaysia to cancel the directives to enforce liquor licences for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages.
Wee said that Tengku Zafrul had confirmed that the MoF had indeed cancelled the above directives and had promised to instruct the Customs Department to abide by this decision.
“Three weeks ago, I spoke to Tengku Zafrul again on this matter. On Nov 23, the MoF issued an official letter to instruct the Customs Department to cancel the implementation of making liquor licences compulsory for selling alcoholic drinks.
“This is because the MoF had in 1977 authorised the Mentris Besar and chief ministers to handle this matter through the Licensing Board under their respective local government.
“The Customs Department is part of the Licensing Board of each state and has no power to instruct restaurants and coffeeshops to apply for liquor licences.
“Therefore, the MoF cancelled the circular issued on April 7 which requested business owners to apply for liquor licences from the Customs Department before Dec 31,” Wee said.