Rul­ing lets In­done­sia ban liquor

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

JAKARTA: Sales and dis­tri­bu­tion of al­co­hol could be banned in some parts of In­done­sia af­ter Mus­lim hard­lin­ers won a Supreme Court vic­tory, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

While it is the world’s most pop­u­lous Mus­lim- ma­jor­ity coun­try, the sale of al­co­hol for tourists and the small num­ber of lo­cals who drink has un­til now been al­lowed.

Some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, where Is­lamic hard­lin­ers are in­flu­en­tial, in­tro­duced by-laws ban­ning its sale.

But th­ese may never be en­forced ow­ing to a 1997 presi- den­tial de­cree pro­hibit­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments from ban­ning the sale of al­co­hol.

Now a prom­i­nent hard­line group, the Is­lamic De­fend­ers Front (FPI), has suc­ceeded in get­ting the de­cree over­turned in a ju­di­cial re­view at the Supreme Court, a spokesman for the court said.

Spokesman Rid­wan Man­syur said: “The Supreme Court has ac­cepted the ju­di­cial re­view filed by the FPI… as the pres­i­den­tial de­cree… failed to bring peace and pub­lic or­der to In­done­sian com­mu­ni­ties.”

The court is­sued the rul­ing in mid-June but it was only made pub­lic in re­cent days.

The FPI, no­to­ri­ous for con­duct­ing raids on “sin­ful” bars and night­clubs, hailed the vic­tory.

“All In­done­sian Mus­lims are over­joyed,” said the head of the FPI’s Jakarta branch, Salim Alatas. “The rul­ing has saved gen­er­a­tions from the neg­a­tive im­pact of al­co­hol.”

Rey­don­nizar Moenek, a se­nior in­te­rior min­istry of­fi­cial, said a num­ber of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties had is­sued the by­laws al­though he did not know how many. – Sapa-AFP

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