Bali booze ban could land tourists in jail
Aussies dreaming of a Bali holiday when travel restrictions are eased may have to think again due to a proposed booze ban that could see people thrown into jail for sipping on the island's famous Bintang beer.
Indonesia's House of Representatives has resumed deliberations of a proposed 2015 Bill called the Prohibition of Alcoholic Drinks, backed by the fun police in the form of three powerful Islamic parties that dominate the house.
The proposed bill takes aim at people drinking and those caught producing, distributing, or storing alcohol in Indonesia and they could face jail for between two and ten years.
In discussing the draft bill, 21 politicians from the conservative Islamic parties the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Gerinda and National Development Party (PPP), quoted verses from the Koran that argues why Muslims must be prohibited from imbibing in alcohol and how the drink makes disciples stray from Allah.
The move could be a death blow to Bali's coronavirus-crippled tourist industry.
In usual times, Aussies account for more than a quarter of visitors to the holiday island with more than one million visiting Bali every year.
AA Ngurah Adi Ardhana, chairman of Bali's regional legislative council, slammed the proposal as shallow and a piece of Islamic self-interest.
"It is too superficial; Bali will definitely reject it. We are a unitary state built on diversity, and the potential economic impact involved is unacceptable," he said.
He said the proposed bill "merely takes into account the desire of a group of people" and that drinking alcohol is guaranteed by the Indonesian Constitution.
Earlier this year, Bali's Governor Wayan Koster legalised the traditional drink of arak - the use of which has spread from the villages and been embraced by sleek mixologists who create unique 'local flavour' cocktails in posh hotels.
According to the proposal, individuals found drinking alcohol could face two years in jail and fine of $5,000 while businesses found violating such regulations by selling, storing or using alcohol, would face ten years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
If passed into law, the bill would impose the nationwide booze ban with a few exceptions including its use in pharmaceuticals, traditional rituals, some religious ceremonies and special permits are on the cards for certain events as yet undefined.
Originally published as Bali booze ban could land tourists in jail