Singapore passes new law to curb late night sale of liquor
Singapore: Keeping rising cases of alcohol-linked violence in mind, Singapore has passed a new liquor law that will control sale and consumption of alcohol in the country.
The House passed the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill under which alcohol cannot be consumed in public places between 10.30pm and 7am every day and take-away alcohol can only be sold up till 10.30pm.
The law will come into effect from April 1, 2015.
Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran told Parliament yesterday there have been compelling reasons for the Home Affairs Ministry to take proactive steps in restricting the supply and consumption of alcohol.
Mr Iswaran told the House that alcohol consumption last year was linked to 47 cases of rioting and 115 cases of serious hurt, which included stabbings.
“In other words, on average, there was one rioting incident and two cases of serious hurt each week that was liquor-related,” he said, adding “And the trend has been on the rise. The incidents occurred across the island, with 9 out of 10 occurring after 10.30pm.”
The Minister pointed out over the last three years, there was an average of 530 cases of people found to be drunk and incapable in public places…many cases of noise and other disturbances arising from liquor consumption often go unreported.
Singapore’s worst experience was the 8 December 2013 riot where a large number of people were reportedly drunk and reacted to a fatal accident involving a bus and a migrant worker from India.
54 officers were hurt and 23 emergency vehicles were damaged in the precinct of Indian-origin shops, businesses, hotels and models.
The Minister acknowledged that since the Bill was introduced, there have been calls to impose these restrictions on specific problem areas, rather than take a blanket approach. But he pointed out that this poses problems as potential trouble-makers could simply move to another area.
The Bill also means police now have more powers to get people to dispose of their booze, issue orders for them to leave a place, as well as issue composition fines, he said.
Turning to the Liquor Control Zones of Little India and Geylang, Mr Iswaran explained the need for these areas to face stricter restrictions and enhanced penalties. Geylang, like Little India, is popular among foreign workers to spend their day off, holidays and weekends.
Mr Iswaran added that in enforcing the new Bill, police will prioritise their resources, and focus on problem areas.