The Jakarta Post
May 18, Online
House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto says the completion of deliberations of several draft bills will be prioritized during the House's fourth sitting period of 2014-2015.
Bills the House is working on include the controversial alcohol bill, which will prohibit the consumption, distribution and sale of beverages containing more than 1 percent alcohol, he said.
'The House is calling on all commissions to complete deliberations of all bills that are currently in the preparation or harmonization stages. These include the alcoholic bill and the public housing bill. It is expected that the bills will be passed soon,' Setya said during his opening speech at the House on Monday.
Should we do something about poverty, or should we do something about corruption? Or what about all the children suffering from malnutrition? Or the environment?
Or how about unemployment, the dropping currency, the slowing-down of the economy, the traffic jams in every city, the domestic violence, epidemic levels of underage smoking, the poor education?
No, I know what's more important: let's stop the sale of beer.
If alcohol is haram (forbidden) then smoking is certainly haram. In more recent times, as the dangers of tobacco use have come to be proven beyond doubt, scholars have become more unanimous in pronouncing
tobacco use as clearly haram to believers.
In view of the harm caused by tobacco, growing, trading in and smoking of tobacco are judged to be haram. The Prophet, peace be upon him, is reported to have said, 'Do not harm yourselves or others.'
Furthermore, tobacco is unwholesome and God says in the Koran that the Prophet 'enjoins upon them that which is good and pure, and forbids them that which is unwholesome''
Let there be a fatwa against all smokers.
There should be enough safeguards against drunkenness and drunk driving and the like. I can foresee big problems ahead if they implement such laws.
I'm an Indonesian and my friends and I drink responsibly. We do not go home drunk and beat anyone up. We do not wake up our neighbors at 4 a.m. in the morning or relieve ourselves where we shouldn't. We have proven that we can drink and be responsibly merry at the same time. Should the government not encourage responsibility instead of loading legislation with a blanket ban?
And what right does the government have to patronize us or adopt a paternalistic approach toward governing? It definitely is not in our Constitution that the state has a mandate to mold our behavior as they see fit. And just how bad is the drinking problem in Indonesia anyway? Can we not tackle the anti-social behavior under existing legislations and focus on those instead of spreading our thin resources on enforcing 'morality?'
And whose morality is it anyway? Drinking is as part of the culture in a number of regions, and it is so built into the culture such that alcohol is consumed outside of religious rituals. Yet it is another example of the loud minority imposing its will upon the rest of us. I'm surprised no one has told these guys to go and multiply themselves.
If they really are concerned with a moral issue, then the corruption issue should be prioritized instead of looking for a scapegoat, which in this case is alcohol consumption. They are looking for a thing to blame. In fact, theyÂ´re the ones to be blamed for the degradation of moral values in this country.
Furthermore, weÂ´re a country of multiple faiths and cultures, and some of them allow the consumption of alcohol. So much for unity in diversity.
The consumption and misuse of any drug is not a moral issue, it is one of public health. Alcohol is a drug and does more damage throughout the world than all other drugs combined.
Anything can be abused and cause problems. I'd say cigarettes kill more worldwide, many times over. People driving vehicles irresponsibly kill and injure more people. Even food kills more. What are you going to do, ban everything? Prohibition most likely will cause more problems in terms of health and crime.
For the majority who just enjoy a few quiet drinks this is a patronizing punishment when the law should already be punishing drunk drivers, violent people and public drunkenness. You know, doing their jobs
instead of collecting bribes.
It is fair to argue that alcohol has significant public health risks that outweigh the 'economic' benefits (lost productivity negates alcohol's economic activity). However, this attempt at regulation is not based on public health, but on sharia.
A gradual public health initiative to lessen the impact of alcohol, especially on young people, should be welcomed along with a far more needed gradual (as in over generations) effort to ban smoking. The idea should be to slowly encourage and educate the public to refuse such diversions. Forcing the issue is not the answer.
When considering economic benefits, the potential impact on tourism needs to be considered. Yes, Bali has an exemption, but if the local alcohol manufacturing industry collapses and Indonesia is then forced to rely on imports, prices will rise significantly.
This could have an impact on the decision of some more budget-conscious travelers to come here. But even if the higher costs don't bother them, it is really not relaxing drinking a beer while being made to feel like a pariah. Remember, for Australians, the rest of Southeast Asia is only an hour or two further away.
Indonesia seems to be increasingly slipping away from any attempt at being the proud and reforming nation under the Garuda and sadly sliding more decisively into the gobbling land of the turkey.
Perhaps, indeed, it is already time to start thinking about changing the national symbol and maybe even renaming the national carrier as well while we are at it.
We all know that even if this bill is passed it is certain to come with a barrage of exemptions anyhow, for facilities in the major cities and tourist resorts at least, and the top turkeys will exempt themselves from this law in any case, just as they already do with about every other law of the land.
May Ling Pfe
If we made a list of Indonesian development issues from most important to least important, the sale of alcoholic beverages wouldn't earn a place in the top 20. I hope this has the effect of so completely discrediting the non-secular parties that they are never entrusted with power.
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