Banning alcohol a lost cause

DENPASAR, Bali, 23 November 2020: Bali Hotels Association dismisses moves to introduce an alcohol ban in Indonesia as just a recurring story that makes headlines annually and then returns to obscurity.

In a press statement released at the weekend, the hotel association says the proposed alcohol ban is always picked up by the “tabloid media and shared all over social media.”

Alcohol ban proposals are often deliberated in parliament but gain little traction in Indonesia’s multi-faith society, the association stated.

It is probably the last thing the Island of Bali needs right now as it struggles to beat Covid-19 and return to some semblance of normality as far as hotel bookings are concerned.

The association hammers home its disdain saying the proposal does not have the blessing of Balinese politicians as reported by overseas media. It originates with the political parties that hold sway in the capital Jakarta.

The reasons vary. “One time, it is for religious reasons; another it is for health reasons.”

The association cites a survey of 1,600 people in eight Indonesian cities, conducted by the Jakarta-based research institute, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies that found most respondents did not regard drinking as a health crisis.

Bali Hotel Association chairman, Ricky Putra, claimed that the current laws regulating alcohol in Indonesia were quite sufficient.

“What needs to be done is to ensure that the current laws on alcohol beverages are implemented properly. We already have limitations in Bali, for example, on where and who can sell and buy alcohol, the proposed law is not needed.

“Each year, it comes up and goes the rounds then all goes quiet again.  There is nothing that tells us it will be any different again this year. The last time it reached media-hype level was in 2016, and you can still buy a drink in Bali.”