[tourismindonesia] Push to ban alcohol in Indonesia

Push to ban alcohol in Indonesia
Date December 20, 2012 - 2:29PM
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Michael Bachelard
Indonesia Correspondent for Fairfax Media

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-new ... z2FZ8VbY9m 

Indonesia will consider banning all alcoholic beverages and putting drinkers in jail for two years.

The Islamic-based United Development Party, a member of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's governing coalition, has drafted and submitted its Bill for a Ban on Alcoholic Drinks to the national parliament, which has decided to include it on the country's national legislation program for 2013.

The strict ban would be "applied nationwide within the territory of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia", the bill says.

The bill contains penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment and 10 billion rupiah ($A1.05 million) in fines for those who produce alcoholic drinks; $520,000 and five years in prison for those who distribute them, and two years' imprisonment and a $20,800 fine for those who consume alcohol.

Indonesia is a Muslim majority country, where most of the population refrains from drinking. But alcohol is freely available in nightclubs, bars and some cafes.

In regions like Bali, the economy relies heavily on tourism, which includes a heaving, alcohol-fuelled night life. A ban would devastate the region.

However, the ban is part of a heavy 2013 legislative agenda in a notoriously gridlocked and slow-moving parliament.

The law's proponent, United Development Party MP Ahmad Kurdi Moekri, told Fairfax Media the proposal was "to safeguard the nation's morals".

"It is the mandate of our constitution, it's about character building," he said.

Mr Ahmad, a member of the national parliament's Commission III overseeing legal affairs, said alcoholic drinks "have a greater negative impact on the nation than positive, and anything negative to the nation is the nation's enemy".

But he warned outsiders not to interpret the legislation as an act of religious radicalism.

"We should not take the stance … that, since the bill was proposed by a party of certain religious background, that it might lead to turning the country into a religious-based state," he said.

"It's such a small-minded approach."

Indonesian brewer, Bintang, maker of the favourite beer among Australians travelling in Bali, declined to comment, a spokeswoman saying it was a "very sensitive subject" for them.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-new ... z2FZ8GnzTz


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