Parliament: New liquor control laws on the horizon, says Iswaran

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is working towards introducing a new law on liquor control in Parliament early next year, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran told Parliament on Tuesday. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is working towards introducing a new law on liquor control in Parliament early next year, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran told Parliament on Tuesday. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - After a long review of alcohol restriction measures, a new law on liquor control is on the horizon.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is working towards introducing this in Parliament early next year, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran told Parliament on Tuesday.

Restricting public consumption of alcohol and the hours for retail sales of liquor are among measures the ministry is considering after a series of public consultations that started last October and ended this August, he said.

The findings of these consultations will be released within this week.

Mr Iswaran was responding to Mr Alex Yam (Chua Chu Kang GRC), who asked about the progress of public consultations on proposed alcohol restrictions in public areas.

The ministry has, since 2012, embarked on a review of liquor control measures hoping to curb law and order problems and disamenities posed by people congregating and downing significant quantities of alcohol in public places - particularly at night.

These concerns, said Mr Iswaran, were raised by residents and businesses, especially those in areas where residential and commercial premises are located near each other.

The ministry, he added, will look at feedback from the public and industry players, and take into account the experience from alcohol restrictions imposed in Little India following the Dec 8 riot sparked by the death of Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu.

It has also been studying practices elsewhere. In places like South Australia and Texas, said Mr Iswaran, the public consumption of alcohol is not allowed at times when problems associated with drinking are more significant.

"In deciding on the measures to adopt in Singapore, we will balance the diverse interests of various stakeholders including residents and businesses," he said.

"We will also need to ensure that the regime is practical and enforceable, easily understood with clear rules, and minimal displacement effect."