Debunking the myths of the Liquor Control Bill

Debunking the myths of the Liquor Control Bill
Illustration of liquor control.

SINGAPORE - Draconian. Restrictive. Unfair.

These were some responses when the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill was tabled in Parliament on Monday.

But these proposed measures were a result of public concern over excessive alcohol consumption and drunkenness in public spaces since September 2012.

During public consultations and discussions with stakeholders, there was strong support from the majority for measures to better manage retail sale hours for takeaway liquor and the consumption of liquor in public places.

Here are some misconceptions about the new proposed Bill:

1 I WON'T BE ABLE TO DRINK ALCOHOL IN PUBLIC

FACT: Drinking is prohibited in public places, such as parks and void decks, only from 10.30pm to 7am every day.

You can still drink at home and in licensed premises (such as bars and coffee shops, restaurants) during the restricted hours.

2 I WON'T BE ABLE TO BUY ALCOHOL AFTER 10.30PM

FACT: You won't be able to buy alcohol from retail shops after 10.30pm, in line with the restrictions on public drinking.

But you can still buy liquor after 10.30pm if you are drinking in licensed premises such as restaurants, coffee shops or bars, during the hours stipulated in their licences.

3 SINGAPORE'S ALCOHOL LAWS ARE VERY STRICT COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRIES

FACT: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) studied liquor control measures in cities in Australia, the US and the UK. These cities have significantly stricter measures than those proposed by the local Bill.

In New York City for instance, drinking of alcohol in public is not allowed at all times.

In Brisbane, retail sale hours for takeaway liquor end at 10pm and licensed premises may serve liquor to patrons only up to midnight, with extensions granted in some cases.

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