Ban on alcohol sales in Little India under review

Ban on alcohol sales in Little India under review

SINGAPORE - The ban on public consumption of alcohol in Little India will continue for now, at least until longer-term measures are worked out by the Committee of Inquiry (COI) looking into the Dec 8 riot.

But the ban on the sale of alcohol by retail outlets, which is hurting many businesses in the area, is being reviewed and the details would be announced soon.

This is according to Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran, who was speaking last Tuesday night during a visit to a foreign workers' dormitory in Jurong.

This past weekend saw the police enforce a ban on both the sale and consumption of alcohol in a 1.1 sq km dry zone in Little India. Bus services ferrying foreign workers to the area were also suspended.

As a result, sales dropped 40 per cent to 60 per cent on average for most merchants. Businesses that rely on selling alcohol, such as bars and provision shops, said they lost up to 90 per cent of their usual weekend takings.

"In terms of the sale (of alcohol), the police are now in discussion with stakeholders to finalise the details and this will be announced shortly," said Mr Iswaran.

He added that longer-term measures would be informed by the COI's findings, as well as an ongoing public consultation on alcohol consumption.

joycel@sph.com.sg


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