Singapore could soon get a whole lot boring if the local government has its way. The expensive island country's parliament is set to discuss on a bill that prohibits alcohol consumption in public places between 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. Even the retail shops in Singapore won't be allowed to sell take-away liquor during the time-frame.
The drinking of alcohol between 10.30 p.m. to 7 a.m. in public places, including parks and HDB void decks could soon become illegal if the new Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill tabled in Parliament on Monday is eventually passed. The bill even includes severe penalties for the perpetrators who are found guilty of violating the rules.
As per the bill, people found guilty of drinking after 10.30 p.m. in a public place will face a fine of up to $1,000. A repeat offender will not just face the possibility of a fine of up to $2,000, but also a jail-term of up to three months.
If these seem extreme, as a strong measure to ensure sellers do not sell liquor on the sly, a licensed liquor seller who sells alcohol beyond trading hours stipulated in its license may be liable to a fine of up to $10,000. The alcohol seller may also face jail-time and permanent suspension of his license as well.
The Bill also includes details of places where excessive alcohol consumption has traditionally been a recurring problem. Designating such places as "Liquor Control Zones," the bill wants to strictly enforce the policy and enhance vigilance in these regions to bring down the "higher risk of public disorder associated with excessive drinking."
These "high risk" regions will have stricter restrictions on public drinking and the sale of alcohol on weekends and during public holidays. Those found flouting the rules in these areas will face 1.5 times the regular penalty. Two of the areas in Singapore, which will most likely be designated as "Liquor Control Zones," are Little India and Geylang. Little India witnessed an intense alcohol fueled riot in 2013.
The Bill accords more power to the police, who can ask any drunk to leave a public place and to dispose off the liquor. Anyone acting up can be immediately arrested and may face a jail-time of up to six months.
Explaining why it chose 10.30 p.m. as the cut-off point, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
"The timing is aligned with community events in residential estates which conclude at 10.30 p.m., to minimize noise and disturbance to the surrounding residents. Most shops will also be closed by then."Fortunately, people can still consume alcohol in enclosed premises like bars and restaurants, but only till the stipulated time in the license agreement. While one country is making it easier to consume alcohol, other is making it difficult.
[Image Credit | TNP, ST]