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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Jan 28: A restaurant in Kuching which recently served alcohol to a group of 14-year-olds was warned by Kuching South City Council (MBKS) even though it happened during Chinese New Year.
MBKS mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng warned such a violation might result in the suspension or revocation of licences even without any written explanation from the business operation.
He said last week, MBKS was informed by members of the public that a restaurant was serving alcohol to minors.
Upon receiving the tip-off, MBKS, the police, and Health Ministry officers checked the premises, and a warning was issued to the restaurant operator.
“Despite being accompanied by adults, even patrons, operators are not allowed to sell or serve alcohol to minors, meaning those below the age of 21,” said Wee in his weekly ‘Shall WEE Talk’ live stream today.
He said such conduct is nothing but the height of irresponsibility and will undoubtedly lead to many adverse consequences that will, in turn, culminate in the social deterioration of Sarawak’s youth if proper measures are not speedily taken.
“Such restaurant operators must be made to understand that MBKS does have the jurisdiction and power under the Local Authorities Ordinance 1996 (LAO 1996) to suspend or even revoke their license to operate under these circumstances, without the need for these restaurant operators to provide any written explanation,” said Wee.
Quoting both Section 145(1) of the Local Authorities Ordinance 1996 and MBKS’ General Licence Conditions for food Premises (as of January 2023), he said MBKS has the power to suspend or revoke any license upon being satisfied that the licensee has breached.
“While MBKS recognises that a holistic approach is pertinent to ensure that our young Sarawak adults make safe, smart, and informed decisions in this multiracial and multireligious society, MBKS will take a firm stand in respect of our young ones to protect them from the dangers and social ills of alcohol abuse.
“In view of the new amendments (Regulations 361 and 386A) to the Food Regulations 1985, which came into effect on Dec 1, 2017, the legal drinking age in Malaysia is now 21.
“As such, MBKS is currently reviewing the General Licence Conditions For Food Premises to be in line with the new ruling,” said Wee.
Wee also thanked the parents who informed him on the matter and hoped that members of the public continue to be the eyes and ears for MBKS as the council cannot be omnipresent.— DayakDaily