Proposed Measures on Liquor Sale and Consumption at Public Places

MHA

Ministry of Home Affairs - Joint Ops Division

Consultation Period: 25 Nov 2013 - 31 Dec 2013
Status: Closed
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Summary

The Ministry of Home Affairs invites the public to provide feedback on the proposed recommendations to (a) designate no-alcohol zones at some public places; and (b) shorten the sale hours of liquor at retail outlets.

Detailed Description

Public Consultation on Strengthening Measures on Liquor Sale and Consumption at Public Places

Ministry of Home Affairs
 
Proposed Measures on Liquor Sale and Consumption at Public Places
Consultation Period: 25 November 2013 - 31 December 2013

Introduction
 
The Ministry of Home Affairs invites the public to provide feedback on the proposed recommendations to (a) designate no-alcohol zones at some public places; and (b) shorten the sale hours of liquor at retail outlets.

Background
 
2        MHA has reviewed the liquor licensing regime to address growing concerns of public order and safety, as well as dis-amenities, arising from congregation and drinking at public places. MHA would like to consult the public on some specific measures.

3        In recent years, residents especially those living near congregation hotspots (e.g. Robertson Quay and Little India) and some Members of Parliament have been raising concerns that such congregation and drinking are posing safety and dis-amenities issues to the community, as drinkers become intoxicated in the night and act violently, or create public nuisance such as littering and vomiting.

4        The availability of cheaper options from retail stores in the vicinity has contributed significantly to this problem. For instance, young revellers are often seen congregating at public entertainment belts and drinking liquor purchased more cheaply from retail outlets, enjoying the atmosphere and attempting to achieve a level of intoxication before entering entertainment outlets.

5        In view of the above, MHA has examined upstream measures to holistically tackle the problems of alcohol intoxication and public drinking in the long term. In particular, to reduce public nuisance and mitigate law and order concerns arising from liquor consumption by congregations at public places, we are looking at targeted measures on liquor sale and consumption.

Proposals for Your Views
 
6        The public is invited to provide feedback and inputs on the following recommendations:-

Recommendation 1: Designating no-alcohol zones at some public places
 
7        To protect the general public, particularly residents, from safety threats and dis-amenities caused by drinkers congregating at public places, we propose to designate some public spaces as no-alcohol zones. This empowers enforcement officers to vacate drinkers congregating at these areas, to reduce potential public order incidents and dis-amenities. The approach of designating no alcohol zones is today practiced in many jurisdictions (e.g., Australia, Canada, UK and US) where people are not allowed to consume or carry open bottles of liquor within the area. We would like to seek your views on the following:-

a)    Should there be designated no-alcohol zones at public places?
b)   If so, which are the areas that we should permanently designate as no-alcohol zones, and which are those that we should designate as temporary no-alcohol zones?

Proposals and considerations for your views on designating no-alcohol zones

 

Recommendation 2: Shortening the sale hours of alcohol at retail outlets
 
8          Currently, retail outlets such as convenience stores and supermarkets located within predominantly residential estates (e.g. Ang Mo Kio) or commercial districts (e.g. Orchard Road) can apply for an extension of sale hour to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, while those operating at mixed commercial and residential zones (e.g. Tanjong Pagar) may be permitted to sell alcohol only between 6 am till 3 am on the following day on weekdays, or 6 am till 4 am the next day on Saturdays and eve of Public Holidays. Countries such as Australia apply more stringent licensing hours (i.e. up to 10pm in certain states), while others like Hong Kong and Japan have more liberal licensing conditions (i.e. allowed 24 hours a day).

9          To complement the no-alcohol zones and more effectively resolve problems particularly at congregation hotspots, we propose to also shorten the sale hours of liquor at retail outlets. This reduces the availability of cheap alcohol to drinkers in the late night and minimises the incidence of intoxication and the associated public order and dis-amenities issues. In the long term, this seeks to shape behaviour to discourage excessive and irresponsible drinking at night at public places where drinkers' behaviours may affect others in the vicinity1. We would like to seek your views on the following:- 

a)    Should the hours for retail sale of alcohol be shortened?
b)    If so, what would be the appropriate timing and should it be applied to all retail outlets or only to outlets within the problematic areas?

Proposals and considerations for your views on shortening retail sale hours


 Submission
 
10        We welcome your views on the above proposals. You can send your feedback to us via:

a)    REACH E-Poll (multiple choice selections)
b)    Email: reach@reach.gov.sg

11        We seek your support to ensure that the consultation exercise is productive and focused, and would like to request that respondents follow these guidelines:-

a)    Identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if any), as that would assist us to understand of the perspective of various stakeholder groups;
b)    Make your comments clear and concise; and
c)    Identify the specific recommendation you are commenting on, and focus your comments on how the proposals may be improved.

12        Your feedback is important to us. All views and comments received will be considered. However, we regret that we will not be able to separately address or acknowledge every comment we receive. Instead, we will consolidate and publish a summary of the key comments received with our response, on the REACH website after the consultation exercise closes. The summary will maintain confidentiality of the feedback received. The closing date for the submission is 31 December 2013.

Thank you.



[1] Unlike drinking within residential homes, or at licensed premises (i.e. pubs) where the licensees are responsible to ensure that the customers' activities are controlled (i.e. no offence committed such as assault), drinkers' behaviour at other public places may not be monitored or contained, and may affect others in the vicinity.