Government not against regulation on alcoholic drinks: Minister

"There has been no ban on alcoholic drinks. The government will see, but there would be a long discussions or studies," Sofyan Djalil said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Economy Sofyan Djalil said the government is not against regulation on alcoholic drinks, but "we must not over regulate it.".

"What is important is we agree that there is regulation as without regulation it would be dangerous for our children," the minister said here on Tuesday.

He acknowledged that so far ban on alcoholic drinks is still a discourse.

"There has been no ban on alcoholic drinks. The government will see, but there would be a long discussions or studies," he said after accompanying President Joko Widodo at a night banquet in honor of Norwegian President Erna Solberg at the state palace.

In many countries, alcoholic drinks have become part of their life, he said.

He repeated the government agreed to have regulation on alcoholic drinks but the regulation must be reasonable to "prevent impact contrary to our expectation".

Two Islamic parties have proposed legislation calling for ban on consumption of alcoholic drinks in this predominantly Muslim country.

A lawmaker of one of the parties, said the proposal was prompted by concern for the health of the people rather than on ideological motives.

"This is not a religious or ideological issue," Abdul Hakim of the Prosperous Justice Party was quoted as saying.

The bill seek to ban the sale, production, distribution and consumption of all beverages containing more than one percent of alcohol.

The proposed legislation banning all alcohol consumption would exempt some locations to protect tourism such as five-star hotels and the resort island of Bali.

Many Indonesians, including Muslims, however, do not favor the idea of banning alcoholic drinks.

"Malaysia adopts sharia law but they do not ban the selling of alcoholic drinks," a restaurant operator said.(*)

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