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aws全区号(www.2km.me)_Liquor licence issue is clearly a political charade

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THE Customs Department issued two circulars – first in June and then in August – to all its division heads, state directors, and local authorities including Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

In these notes, the department said it had revoked its directive, issued on August 24, 1993, which postponed the enforcement of licensing on liquor sales besides beer and stout in coffee shops and restaurants.

With effect from January 1, 2022, all restaurants and coffee shops will need liquor licences before they can sell beer on the premises, a requirement that falls under the Excise Act 1976 and Excise Regulations 1977.

A newspaper highlighted this requirement in its print edition on Sunday, accompanied by an interview with the Petaling Jaya Coffeeshop Association (PJCA), which confirmed the above.

The president of the PJCA was even quoted to have said he received just three weeks’ notice of the change in regulations during a meeting with the authorities.

He reportedly said that even though he and other members of the industry raised objections during the meeting, they were told that it was just a briefing, while the government officers did not even announce the detail of the enforcement or further rules and regulations, and no discussions were allowed.

He was even quoted to have said the government officers told them to write to the Ministry of Finance for any complaints, which they did following the meeting and that he hoped to meet Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz to discuss the matter.

On the same day, social media was flooded with comments from the public, specifically from the non-Muslims, criticising the move, saying the federal government has now extended its interference in the customary lifestyle and business practices of non-Muslims nationwide, and called for the government to stop.

Two days thereafter, Transport Minister and President of MCA Wee Ka Siong said he spoke to Tengku Zafrul, who was overseas, and confirmed that he had ordered the Customs Department to revoke the liquor licence policy.

Any announcement to revoke the directive should have come from Tengku Zafrul, who oversees the Customs Department and no one else.

Therefore, Wee’s announcement was clearly designed to give the impression to the Chinese voters – who own almost 90% of the coffee shops nationwide – that only MCA, not the opposition parties, can represent their interests.

Yes, MCA did voice its objections to this directive too but if it didn’t do so publicly, the charade will be incomplete.

After almost complete rejection by the Chinese in 2018 – in contrast to the time the community saved Barisan Nasional’s two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 1999 general election – MCA has vowed that it would continue to fight and regain minority rights under the Federal Constitution because it understood the political aspirations of the people it represents.

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