Shops in Little India are being helped to deal with alcohol curbs: Shanmugam

SINGAPORE -The Government has helped and will help shops in Little India which were hit by tighter alcohol controls, Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam said in a Facebook post on Saturday evening, ahead of a proposed new law to control alcohol consumption across the island.

Following the December 2013 riot in Little India, curbs on alcohol sales and consumption were introduced in the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act.

"The residents tell us that Little India feels safer now, after the measures were put in place," said Mr Shanmugam. "Residents no longer face disamenities that arise from excessive drinking, e.g. rowdy behaviour, public urination and vomiting, fights."

But some shops which relied heavily on liquor sales to foreign workers on weekends have been affected, he noted. "The Government will work with Lisha (Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association) to see how we can help these affected business owners, including you."

For instance, the Government has already arranged for many Lisha members to open shops in foreign workers' recreation centres. "Some of these owners have adjusted their business models and are doing well," said Mr Shanmugam.

In Parliament on Monday, the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill will be presented. It is likely to spell out when and where people can consume liquor in public, as well as the hours allowed for the sale of alcohol.

On this proposed new law, Mr Shanmugam said: "Extensive public consultations were conducted and there is strong support from the public, for the introduction of measures, to control the supply and consumption of liquor."

"We will work collectively to develop a responsible drinking culture in a safe and secure environment," he added.