KUALA LUMPUR: Selling liquor in Kuala Lumpur will not be an issue from now on, as the new committee members of Excise Licensing Board under the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has renewed a total of 1,519 applications for liquor licences in its first meeting held on 23 November.
The applications made by sundry shops, convenience stores and Chinese medicine shops for liquor licences were approved, said Pooi Weng Keong, vice chairman of the Excise Licensing Board of DBKL.
In 2021, under the guidelines enforced on 1 November 2021, all sundry shops, convenience stores and Chinese medicine shops were banned from selling liquor.
The local Chinese community and outlets selling liquors reacted strongly against the guidelines then.
“Although it was an issue back in 2021, the new committee does not see such regulations from the legal perspective,” said Pooi.
“As a multiracial country, we should not be too rigid in implementing regulations to ban liquor at non-halal venues,” he said.
Foreign tourists are welcome to visit Malaysia and should not shun Kuala Lumpur just because of the liquor ban.
With due respect to the Muslims, Pooi said the liquor issue could be handled in a positive manner.
“Committee members of the Excise Licensing Board will be handling fresh applications and renewals in an open, proactive and positive approach.
“Proactive means we try our best not to delay in approving the applications. We will be examining the new applications soon while reviewing the policy set earlier,” he said.
In a telephone interview, Pooi said the new committee met for the first time after a lapse of more than one year and handled the applications for the renewal of liquor licences.
“The last meeting of the Excise Licensing Board was held in September 2022. The board has since not met for more than a year,” he said.
The new committee members of the Excise Licensing Board received the appointment in mid-October.
Pooi said the board had received a total of 513 new applications for liquor licences and this would require time for approval.
The committee will meet again on 20 December.