Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo rolled back a presidential regulation allowing investments in the liquor industry on Tuesday, nearly one month after he signed it.

Announcing the revocation of the investment permit on the Indonesian Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel, he said his decision was prompted by inputs from several figures, including the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), and regions.

The move earned him praise from various sections of society, including Indonesia's leading Islamic organizations and the opposition camp.

Mathla'ul Anwar, a Muslim organization based in Banten province, heaped praise on the head of state for deciding to reverse the regulation.

"Alhamdulillah (Thank God), he listened to the aspirations of multi-faith communities," Mathla'ul Anwar general chairman KH Ahmad Sadeli Karim told local journalists.

The Mathla'ul Anwar opposed the regulation for opening up investment for manufacturing alcoholic beverages and their trade in Indonesia right from the start.

The presidential regulation, signed on February 2, 2021, was issued as a follow-up to the job creation law passed by the House of Representatives (DPR) last year.

The regulation was mainly targeting the alcoholic beverages industry in the provinces of Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi, and Papua.

It sought to allow foreign and domestic investors as well as cooperative units and small and medium enterprises to invest in the liquor industry.

But, the attachment pertaining to the investment permit for liquor industry in the presidential regulation was rejected by the public.

This public sentiment was echoed by figures from multi-faith communities, with Filep Wamafma, a member of the Regional Representatives' Council (DPD), urging President Jokowi to pull the plug on the investment permit.

"We appeal to Mr. President to revoke the government's investment permit for the alcoholic beverages industry in Papua," Wamafma said in a press statement last week.

He cautioned against a surge in crime rate following liquor intake in the country's easternmost province.

Alcohol consumption in Papua also contributed to a relatively high death rate, he argued.

Local media outlets quoted Papua Governor Lukas Enembe as saying that around 22 percent of deaths in the province are caused by liquor.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages is also believed to have contributed to shortened life expectancy of native Papuans.

On Tuesday, President Jokowi's decision to revoke the regulation was lauded not only by religious figures but also Mardani Ali Sera, a legislator from the opposition camp at the House of Representatives (DPR).

According to Sera, the President finally paid heed to the sentiments and inputs of different elements of the society.

A lesson stands to be learnt from this matter -- that building a nation necessitates upholding principles, he remarked.

President Jokowi's decision ultimately reflected his attention to the public's voice, though all stood to take a cue from this case for the future, he added.

“Mr. President alone has affirmed that development of Indonesia's human resources is directed to be (his administration's) main priority," he stated.

Reversing the controversial decision would salvage the government's prioritized programs that have been firmly prepared by President Widodo, he remarked.

Meanwhile, deputy head of the House Legislation Body, Achmad Baidowi, has pressed the House to pass the alcohol prohibition bill in the wake of the grave threat posed by liquor, especially for the young generation.

Recent incidents have indeed shed light on the dangers of alcohol consumption. On February 25, 2021, three people were fatally shot at RM Cafe in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, after an inebriated customer and a cafe staffer squabbled over the bill.

Providing details about the incident, Jakarta Metropolitan Police spokesperson Sen. Coms. Yusri Yunus told local media outlets that Chief Brigadier CS had arrived at the cafe at 2 a.m. local time.

He reportedly consumed liquor until the cafe shut at 4 a.m. local time. However, while CS was settling the bill, an argument reportedly broke out between him and a staffer at the cafe, following which he opened fire.

Three people were killed and another person was wounded in the shooting, Yunus said.

In light of such incidents, the United Development Party (PPP) has been, for some time, proposing an immediate passage of the alcohol prohibition bill, Baidowi said.

Prior to the Cengkareng shooting, Indonesia had drawn negative attention over the death of a Japanese citizen from liquor consumption, he pointed out.

Citing the detrimental impact of alcoholic beverages, the senior PPP politician urged the Indonesian government to welcome only those investing in industries that are not harmful to Indonesia and its people.

Pious Muslims in Indonesia and other countries consider “Khamr", or alcoholic beverages, to be the source of evil. (INE)

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Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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