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SUNDAY, October 01, 2023

Alcohol-control regulations need to be amended, association says

Alcohol-control regulations need to be amended, association says
SATURDAY, June 10, 2023

The Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association announced on Friday that it supports amending the country's current alcohol control regulations, stating that they must change to be aligned with the current social and economic context.

Association president Khemika Ratanakul said some provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act should be changed to benefit Thai brewers, distillers and consumers.

Khemika pointed to the prohibition on sales of alcoholic beverages between 2pm and 5pm as well as restrictions on advertising and mentioning or displaying alcohol on social media.

The association identified three areas of the law that need immediate revision: curfews on sales of alcohol, allowing authorities too much leeway in interpreting the law, and imposing heavy fines on those who do not obey an officer's order.

Khemika pointed out that the law gave authorities far too much power in interpreting the law, saying there was no guarantee that their decisions would be free and fair.

"Some regulations are like loopholes that harm the country's tourism industry while also allowing for bribes and corruption," she said. "The country requires clear and concise regulations. There is no room for ambiguity."

The association said it also opposed a new version of the Alcohol Control Act proposed by the Ministry of Public Health.

The proposal is too harsh, Khemika said.

It will harm both Thai consumers and entrepreneurs, particularly those who operate bars and restaurants, she said, adding that bars and restaurants are a key part of the tourism industry.

"Alcohol control measures must be tailored to the current context of both livelihoods and careers. Through collaboration to find effective solutions from various sectors, the regulations must promote fair competition and foster responsible drinking behaviour," Khemika said.

The association supports the Move Forward Party's progressive liquor bill, saying it will create fairer rules for the production of alcohol, give consumers more freedom, and reduce corruption.

It said the law could be strengthened to control harmful drinking behaviour by imposing higher fines on bad behaviour.