Liquor sale banned at medical halls (29.5.15)

PETALING JAYA: The Petaling District Licensing Council has barred the sale of liquor in medicine shops.

In a move that affects Chinese medical halls in Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam, the council has also warned that those who do not adhere to the new regulations could have their licences revoked.

The move drew strong protests from medicine hall groups who are demanding explanations. Some said they wanted clear distinctions over liquor and traditional medicines with alcohol content.

“The medicine halls have already paid for a liquor licence. This is very wrong. Firstly, the alcohol in the medicine is different, it is to treat illnesses. Secondly, if it is the hard liquor, why suddenly do this? They already took money for the licence and now they say cannot,” Malay­sian Chinese Medical Association secretary-general Heng Aik Teng said.

He said the authorities had to provide a “proper reason” for the ban and if the issue was with Muslims purchasing the medicines, it should be made clear who could buy it and who could not.

“Do not punish us. Let us meet and discuss this,” he added.

Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Association Malaysia president Prof Ng Po Kok said that if medicine halls were stopped from selling medicinal liquors, it could seriously impact their business.

“There needs to be a discussion if hard liquor is the issue. You can’t just ban everything. The trader will also be affected. You can’t just suddenly set new policies,” he told The Star, adding that the shops which sold hard liquor had licences.

“It’s not very clear. The authorities must approach us associations and the state government to discuss this if they are serious about enforcing.”

Selangor Exco in charge of local governments Ean Yong Hian Wah said the state government did not have anything to do with the ban imposed by the Petaling District and Land Office.

“We are very concerned about this matter and will be discussing it at next week’s exco meeting,” said Ean Yong when contacted.

In a letter dated March 11 this year to all retail outlets, Petaling District Licensing Council chairman Syarifah Ainul Suhana Syed Mohd Taha said that based on a Petaling District Excise Licensing meeting on Jan 21, medicine shops would be prohibited from selling liquor with immediate effect.

Under the new ruling, medicine shops would also have to list all drugs which contain alcohol and the list must be displayed at the outlets.

Some shopowners, however, said the notice was made available to them only a few days ago while others said they had received nothing.

When contacted, the Petaling District Office declined to comment on the ruling.

Source: The Star

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