Parliament: New liquor law passed, public drinking at late night will be illegal

The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill has been passed in Parliament on Friday after a three-hour debate. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill has been passed in Parliament on Friday after a three-hour debate. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill has been passed in Parliament on Friday after a three-hour debate.

It is expected to kick in in April. From then, it will be illegal to drink in public places including void decks, parks and on the streets from 10.30pm to 7am. The retail sale of alcohol from 10.30pm will also banned. Little India and Geylang will also be designated as Liquor Control Zones, with more restrictions.

Almost all 17 MPs who debated the Bill supported it, though they called for more flexibility in the law.

In his closing speech, Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran said: "Several members have highlighted that this Bill is timely even long overdue, and that it will bring relief to residents in various localities who have been enduring disorder and disturbances arising from irresponsible liquor consumption in their neighbourhoods."

He also touched on enforcement issues, as some MPs have asked if there will be more police officers on the ground to ensure people are not breaking the law.

"While enforcement may be an important factor, it is by no means the solution in total and it's only one part of the equation," he said. "It is equally important that individuals and the community take responsibility and exercise restraint and in this respect, the restriction on public consumption of liquor serves as a marker for members of public to abide by."

He also said the Ministry of Home Affairs had engaged in a "concerted and inclusive" consultation process with stakeholders like residents, businesses and dormitory operators, and had put up two consultation papers for the public to provide feedback, before the introduction of the Bill.

"The ministry has had to find a position that is reasonable and that balances the needs of various stakeholders...we have formulated and proposed a set of measures as embodied in this Bill that we assess to be the most appropriate and practical today."