House appoints Task Force for Alcoholic Beverage Draft Law

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Baleg DPR RI Vice Chairman Achmad Baidowi. (Photo: JPNN.com)

IO – The Indonesian House of Representatives’ Legislative Committee (Badan Legislasi Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia – “Baleg DPR RI”) has appointed a Task Force for the Draft Law for the Prohibition of Alcoholic Beverages. The decision was made in the Baleg Meeting held in the Baleg DPR RI Meeting Room, Nusantara II Building, Senayan, Jakarta, on Monday (05/04/2021).

Baleg DPR RI Vice Chairman Achmad Baidowi declares that inputs from the Baleg’s members will be considered when perfecting the above Draft Law. “Furthermore, as we formulate further drafts, we will also invite other relevant parties to get their input for the perfection of this Draft Law,” he said.

The core regulation in the Draft Law states that alcoholic beverages are clinically proven to cause health problems in terms of causing organic mental disabilities, damaging nerves and memory; and causing brain edema, cirrhosis of the liver, heart issues, gastritis, and paranoia. Furthermore, prolonged consumption will cause chronic illnesses to occur. In fact, the WHO declared on 12 October 2020 that a person who routinely consumes alcohol has a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, as alcohol weakens the body’s immunity.

The Draft Law concerning the Prohibition of Alcoholic Beverages is still included in the Priority National Legislative Program 2021 List despite many criticisms from citizens. The latest version, issued in November 2020 aroused a great polemic, because it has the potential of generating excessive criminalization. The decision to include the Alcoholic Beverage Draft Law into the Priority National Legislative Program 2021 List was made jointly by Baleg DPR, the Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah – “DPD”), and the Government, in a Work Meeting held at the Baleg DPR Offices, Parliamentary Complex, Senayan, Jakarta, on 09 March 2021.

Socially, the majority religion of Indonesia prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages. But at the same time, specific ethnic groups consume alcohol as part of their tribal ritual and cultural inheritance. Other than enriching our cultural heritage, these alcohol-related rituals are a tourist attraction that increases the State’s tax and levies income (we received IDR 3.61 trillion from this source in 2020 alone), and they open up a lot of job opportunities for the people.

Baleg DPR Expert Abdullah Mansyur states that the decision to appoint the Alcoholic Beverage Draft Law Task Force was taken, the philosophical base for the formulation of Alcoholic Beverage Draft Law is that all citizens have the right to obtain a good and healthful environs, to obtain physical and spiritual welfare. This is part of their human rights whose satisfaction is guaranteed by the State, which seeks to protect the lives of all members of society according to the Constitution of 1945.

The sociological foundation for the formulation of the Alcoholic Beverage Draft Law is that this Law is a means to obtain good and healthy environs for the people by controlling alcoholic beverages, which are proven to cause negative health impact and to have a high potential of disruption of the people’s order, peace, and safety, which will ultimately reduce the quality and competitiveness of our citizens. As for the judicial foundation, regulations concerning alcoholic beverages are not integrated and comprehensive. They are not united into a single law. 

Abdullah Mansyur went on to explain that the Alcoholic Beverage Draft Law will regulate, among others, the restriction of alcoholic beverage imports and the setting of high levies. “First it will describe prohibitions or control of alcohol; then the restriction of alcoholic beverage imports and the setting of high levies for alcohol; support for developing traditional/local alcoholic beverages; the upholding of law concerning the production, distribution, and trade of alcoholic beverages; and the social effects of alcohol,” he said. (eka)