Bali tourist areas exempt from beer ban
Ni Komang Erviani
The Jakarta Post
The Trade Ministry's new regulation on alcoholic beverages, scheduled to take full effect on Thursday, will not be enforced on Bali as the ministry has decided that tourism areas would be exempted from the ban.
On Thursday minimarkets, small vendors and beachside beverage vendors across the country were to stop selling beer. Bali administrations, retail associations and vendors had expressed opposition against the beer ban.
Sinar Pohan, a ministry official on legal affairs, said Thursday that a ministerial guideline for the ban stipulated that regents and mayors could designate certain places as areas for selling alcoholic beverages for direct consumption by considering the local customs.
'These areas or places should be declared as tourism areas or tourism sites through a bylaw,' said Sinar during an explanatory meeting in Denpasar.
The guideline stipulated that the type of alcoholic beverages that could be sold in tourism areas were only those with an alcohol content of 1 to 5 percent, type A alcoholic beverages.
'The alcoholic beverages are only to be sold in tourism areas to foreign and domestic tourists older than 21 years of age, which should be proven with an identity card,' he said.
Small-scale vendors selling beer in tourism areas must be part of a cooperative, a regional administration-owned enterprise (BUMD), or a joint enterprise group sanctioned by a regent or mayor.
'The supervision of the trade in alcoholic beverages in tourism areas will be conducted by a team established by the regent or mayor,' Sinar said.
The guideline was made in response to the strong opposition from Bali over the ministry's new regulation, which stipulated beverages with an alcohol content of 1 to 5 percent could only be sold in supermarkets and hypermarkets.
Based on the regulation, minimarkets, food stalls, street vendors and beachside vendors will no longer be allowed to sell beer or other beverages with an alcohol content of between 1 and 5 percent. They were already banned from selling stronger drinks.
Last week, Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel met with Bali administrations, retail associations and vendor representatives over the protest.
Also on Thursday, a member of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) from Bali, Arya Wedakarna, said he hoped that the Bali administrations could immediately follow up on the new regulation by stipulating tourism areas to be exempted. 'I hope that the trade and industrial agency can immediately notify the Bali Police about the regulation so there will no enforcement of the ban pending the bylaws,' he said.
Kuta traditional village chief Wayan Swarsa conveyed his appreciation over the regulation. He said that six customary villages would establish village-owned enterprises to manage the hundreds of beachside beer vendors in his area.
Swarsa is also the chairman of the customary village council (MADP) for the Kuta subdistrict, the umbrella organization of six customary villages around Kuta, including Legian, Tuban, Kerobokan and Kedonganan. 'We will establish an enterprise to follow up on the regulation,' he said.
The beer ban, made in consideration of the 'protection of morals and culture in society' to tighten supervision of alcoholic drink sales, has also faced protests from retailers in other parts of Indonesia.
The Association of Indonesian Retailers (Aprindo) has voiced regret, saying that the authority to allow or prohibit sales of beverages with low alcohol content should be left to regional administrations.
Minimarkets in general account for 1 or 2 percent of total beer sales, but in certain tourist areas they can account for between 10 and 20 percent of distribution, according to the business group.
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