Tuesday, July 01, 2014

House Considering Prohibiting Alcoholic Beverages

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Rofiq Hidayat/ Andin Aditya Rahman
The House of Representatives (House) has officially initiated a Draft Bill on Alcoholic Beverage Prohibition (Draft Bill), which currently is undergoing a second phase discussion.
Djamal Aziz, member of Commission IX at the House, viewed that the Draft Bill discussion must continue, considering the negative impacts of alcoholic drinks for consumers and the public in general.
The same tone was shared by A. Mujahir, member of Commission VI at the House, who argued that due to alcohol consumption, this year alone 18 thousand Indonesian have died, most of which consumes illicit produced moonshines (oplosan). This is ironic because majority of the population are Muslims and we are permissive when it comes to alcoholic beverages.
“It is very bizarre if Indonesia becomes a nation that is permissive in alcoholic beverages consumption,” stated Mr. Mujahir during a plenary session last Tuesday (24/6).
Another consideration for enacting the Draft Bill, put forward by Martin Hutabarat, member of Commission III at the House, is that alcoholic drinks are in contradiction to religious and morality values prevalent in Indonesia.
According to Mr. Hutabarat, besides alcoholic beverages causing physical injuries it also causes psychological damages. He stated that alcohol is the primary factor for criminal activities, causing conditions that promote quarrels, public order disturbances, and social order degradation.
Contradictory Existing Legislation
At present Indonesia already have legal instruments on alcohol, which by hierarchy of legislation is below the level of a Law. One of which is the defunct Presidential Decree No. 3 of 1997on Control and Oversight of Alcoholic Beverages, which was invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2012 (Decision No. 42 P/HUM/2012), but was later replaced by Presidential Regulation No. 74 of 2013on the same subject matter.
There is also a Minister of Trade Regulation (“MoT”) that provides distribution and sales of alcoholic beverages provisions (MoT Regulation No. 20/M-DAG/PER/4/2014 of 2014), which mandates regional governments to provide the supplementary technical provisions on the subject-matter.
Because of the mentioned regulations, Martin implored that discussion on the Draft Bill be carried out prudently.
“In the discussion and drafting phase of the manuscript and contents, the Draft Billmust incorporate adaptations provisions. Therefore, when this legislation is enacted will not be easily invalidated, and it will indeed collectively benefit the Indonesian citizens,” explained Mr. Hutabarat.
Multiple Factors
On the other hand, Peompida Hidayatulloh, member of Commission IX of the House, reminded that alcoholic beverages must also be seen as a primary commodity produced by an industry which can provide jobs to the general public. Alcoholic beverages also produce additional state revenue through tax and excise.
Adding such view, Didi Irawadi Syamsudin, a member of the Democrat Party, asserted that economic, legal, social and cultural considerations must be taken into prudent consideration when discussing the Draft Bill. An example of a social and cultural consideration is the tradition of certain regions that involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages. 

(For an elaboration on Indonesia’s legal framework on alcohol, see: ILD No. 359)

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