11/13/2020, 13.15
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Indonesian lawmakers debating anti-alcohol bill

by Mathias Hariyadi

The proposed law would impose up to two years in prison or a fine of 50 million rupiahs (US$ 3,500) on offenders. The bill will not respect the ritual customs of some tribal groups and will certainly have a serious impact on the hospitality and entertainment industries.

JAKARTA (AsiaNews) – Indonesia lawmakers are discussing a bill to ban the consumption of alcoholic beverage.

If adopted the Alcohol Beverages Bill[*]will punish “Anyone who consumes alcohol as stated in Article No 7” with a sentence of “to three months to two years imprisonment” or a fine of “10 million to 50 million rupiahs.”

This appears in Article 20 (Chapter VI) relating to criminal charges included in the Alcohol Beverages Bill.

There are three types of alcoholic beverages – Alcohol A, B, and C – in Indonesia based on the quantity of alcohol. Traditionally home-made alcohol is sometimes pure, made from certain fruits or mixed with other ingredients.

Prosecution will be more rigorous if the violation is harmful to others. In this case, violators can receive a sentence of up to five years and a fine of 100 million rupiahs.

Producers of illegal alcoholic beverages can receive up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to a billion rupiahs.

The three categories of alcohol content are:

  • Alcohol A: at least 1-5% ethanol;
  • Alcohol B: 5-20% ethanol.
  • Alcohol C: more than 20-55 % ethanol.


However, the bill will not legally respect Indonesian tribal groups who use home-made alcoholic beverages as part of their traditional rituals and cultural events.

This is the case for Tuak or palm wine, which is used by the Dayaks in Kalimantan as part in their ritual ceremonies.

Tuak is known under different names and is traditionally produced by the indigenous population of Flores Island, which is predominantly Catholic, in East Nusa Tenggara Province. The same beverage is used in other provinces for other purposes.

The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) strongly opposes the bill under consideration by Indonesian lawmakers, criticising the draft legislation for criminalising people who consume alcoholic beverages for such purposes.

In defending the bill, Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal, a lawmaker for the United Development Party (PPP),[†] said that it is aimed at protecting people from the damages caused by alcohol consumption.

During her tenure (2014-1017) as mayor of Banda Aceh in Aceh province, Illiza was known as a strong advocate of Islamic morality and for her condemnation of the Christmas message and Christmas decorations in entertainment venues. She also did not allow non-Muslim residents in Banda Aceh to celebrate New Year.

Speaking to media in Jakarta, she reiterated that this initiative comes from her party, among others, and that Muslim teachings prohibit alcoholic beverages. However, “It is also based on health reasons,” she added.

Serious impacts on the entertainment and hospitality industry

If the bill finally becomes law, it will seriously impact hospitality and entertainment businesses since liquor and wine distribution will be reduced or significantly affected. Both are available mostly in hotels and certain entertainment venues such as night clubs.

Indonesians usually drink only beer, and then only is they are affluent. Ordinary people do not drink alcoholic beverages.

Indonesian-made A beer type production reaches two million hectolitres.

Recent data shows Indonesian alcohol import in 2012-2014 as follows:

Total Indonesian alcohol imports




2014: Jan-July only



500,000 cartons  

511,246 cartons


US$ 741,535

US$ 2,741,050

US$ 1,647,997






[*] Rancangan undang-undang Minuman beralkohol or RUU Minol.

[†] Partai Persatuan Pembangunan.

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