Will Indonesia Ban Consumption & Distribution of Alcohol?
After having banned the sale of alcoholic drinks in minimarkets, Indonesia may see the birth of another law concerning alcohol. Several secular and Islamic political parties seem to back a bill prohibiting the sale, production, distribution and consumption of drinks that contain over 1 percent alcohol. This bill is among the 37 so-called priority bills expected to be passed this year. Although the new bill had been first proposed in 2012 by two Islamic parties - National Development Party (PPP) and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) - it had laid on the shelf.
The preliminary draft of the bill states that a person caught consuming can face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to IDR 50 million (approximately USD $3,846). Parties that support the bill claim that the consumption of alcohol should be curbed in Indonesia in order to safeguard order, morals, and health. These parties are particularly concerned as alcohol consumption has risen in recent years. Indonesia, now Asia's 10th-largest beer consumer, posted a 54 percentage point growth in beer consumption over the past decade.
Generally, there exists a negative attitude towards the consumption of alcohol in Indonesia, the country that contains the largest Muslim population on earth, as the consumption of intoxicants (particularly alcoholic drinks) is forbidden in the Qur'an. As such, Islamic parties surely support the new bill. And they seem to have found their allies in three big secular parties that have agreed to the deliberation of the new bill. These three parties are the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Golkar Party and the Democratic Party.
However, several clauses in the draft version provide some exemptions, such as consumption for customary uses, tourism, religious rituals, the pharmacy industry, and in places authorized by law.
If passed by Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR), the new bill is a nightmare for Indonesian companies that manufacture alcoholic beverages, including listed companies Multi Bintang Indonesia and Delta Djakarta.
Although the government of Indonesia is yet to discuss its position on the bill, Chief Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil said that an alcohol ban could impact negatively on the country’s tourism sector.