Strong public support to restrict public consumption of alcohol: MHA

People drinking beer at a shop in Little India. The majority of people polled by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are strongly supporting proposals to restrict the consumption of alcohol in public. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
People drinking beer at a shop in Little India. The majority of people polled by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are strongly supporting proposals to restrict the consumption of alcohol in public. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE - THE majority of people polled by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are strongly supporting proposals to restrict the consumption of alcohol in public.

The Ministry said that respondents to its public consultation exercise are also behind suggestions to limit its selling hours as part of moves to reduce threats to public safety and order.

Some 88 per cent of the people who took part in the poll said they were in favour of implementing the restrictions on alcohol consumption at congregation areas. But a majority of participants in the focus group said a island-wide ban on public consumption would be too extreme and restrictive.

Some suggested imposing additional restrictions in areas with higher crime rates.

The public consultation exercise was held in two phases - between Oct 29 and Dec 31 last year and June 16 and August 29 this year.

In total, MHA received 395 pieces of written feedback and more than 600 people took part in a poll online. The Ministry also conducted focus group discussions with some 200 stakeholders including grassroots leaders, businesses and residents.

The full set of liquor control measures will be announced in the first quarter in 2015, said MHA in a statement on Friday.

"We will balance the diverse interests of various stakeholders including residents and businesses to ensure that the regime is practical and enforceable, easily understood with clear rules, and minimal displacement effect," said MHA.

"The Ministry has also been studying the different models practised in other jurisdictions, and will use these as a reference when drawing up a model that meets our policy and operational requirements."

A majority of the focus group participants also supported the proposal to stop the sale of alcohol at 10pm to midnight. They felt that the timing would deter impulse buys, but would not affect the majority who were responsible drinkers.

Temporary measures, which remain in place till next April, were introduced in Little India following the Dec 8 riot.

These measures prohibit alcohol consumption in public places from 6am on Saturday to 6am on Monday. The prohibition also applies from 6am on the eve of public holidays to 6am on the day after the holiday.