Parliament: New Bill tabled to ban public consumption of alcohol from 10.30pm to 7am islandwide

SINGAPORE -The drinking of alcohol between 10.30pm to 7am in public places, including parks and HDB void decks, could soon be banned if the new Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill tabled in Parliament on Monday is eventually passed.

Retail shops islandwide will also not be allowed to sell take-away liquor from 10.30pm.

In the proposed Bill, people found guilty of drinking after 10.30pm in a public place will face a fine of up to $1,000. A repeat offender will not just face the possibility of a fine of up to $2,000, but also a jail-term of up to three months.

A licensee who sells alcohol beyond trading hours stipulated in its licence may be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

-- SOURCE: MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

The Bill allows for areas where there is a higher risk of public disorder associated with excessive drinking to be designated as Liquor Control Zones.

These areas will have stricter restrictions on public drinking and the sale of alcohol on weekends and during public holidays, similar to rules currently in place in Little India following Dec 8's riot there. Flouting the new rules in these zones will carry 1.5 times the penalty. Areas in Little India and Geylang are expected to be designated as Liquor Control Zones.

Police will be given powers to tell someone who is drunk and annoying others to leave a public place and to dispose of the liquor. Failure to comply could land the person in jail for up to six months.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) began its review on alcohol laws in September 2012, after complaints about drunkenness in public places. Its two public consultation exercises between October 2013 and August last year showed broad support for restrictions on public drinking and the sale of alcohol.

Explaining why it chose 10.30pm as the cut-off point, the MHA said: "The timing is aligned with community events in residential estates which conclude at 10.30pm, to minimise noise and disturbance to the surrounding residents. Most shops will also be closed by then."

People can continue drinking in licensed premises such as restaurants, coffee shops and bars, and their homes. Extension of retail sale hours for take-away liquor beyond 10.30pm may be granted on a case-by-case basis. For instance, organisers of events such as New Year's countdown parties held in public places will have to apply for a permit to sell and drink alcohol beyond 10.30pm.

-- SOURCE: MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

Those holding small get-togethers in public places will be subject to the same rules. For instance, a liquor consumption permit will be needed if people want to drink after 10.30pm during a BBQ in a public park. The permit will be on top of the one required from NParks for the barbeque pit.

The MHA, which studied liquor control measures in cities in Australia, the US and Britain, said most of the liquor rules on public drinking and the sale of alcohol in those places are more restrictive than the ones it has proposed for Singapore.

-- SOURCE: MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

<a href="http://www.straitstimes.com/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://polldaddy.com/poll/8593643/">http://polldaddy.com/poll/8593643/">Do you support the new alcohol restrictions?</a>