SINGAPORE - Liquor store owners in Little India are apprehensive about their future, now that a temporary ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in the district will be imposed.
Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran announced on Monday evening that the ban will apply this weekend for now, following a riot that broke out along Race Course Road on Sunday, as a "first step to stabilise the situation".
The details of the ban, such as the time and geographical area it will cover, will be worked out by the police, Mr Iswaran had said in response to media queries.
Many residents in the area, who have long complained about the noise and overcrowding on Sunday nights and mess that foreign workers often leave behind, told The Straits Times that they welcomed the move.
Accountant Nisa Mohamaed Maideen, 23, said: "After all that has happened, a little peace and quiet this Sunday will be a great relief."
For many liquor store owners, however, the ban will mean a drop of as much as 25 per cent in this month's takings - since most bottles are sold on Sundays, when foreign workers flock to Little India to unwind.
"I sell almost nothing on weekdays, about 100 bottles of McDowell's (a popular whisky brand among workers) on Saturday and at least 1,000 on Sunday," said Mr Kailasam Sadhasivam, 41, who co-owns New Arasi Trading along Chander Road.
"But what to do? Government said so, I must follow."
Instead of a ban, he said he hopes the authorities will stick to their earlier proposal to restrict the number of hours during which alcohol can be sold.
"My worry is that this ban will become permanent. It's not just about decreased takings, but the down payment for the rental and liquor stock. And what am I going to do for a job after that?" said the O-level holder, who added that the real problem appears to lie with the proliferation of liquor stores in the last year.