According to a statement from BHA, this is not the first time alcohol bans have been proposed in Indonesia.
“The arguments raised [against alcohol consumption] in parliament gain little traction in Indonesia’s multifaith society,” BHA said.
“It is not the Balinese politicians raising this, but political parties in Jakarta.”
The BHA also noted that the government coalition, which plays a key role in drafting legislation and holds a majority in Parliament, is against the ban.
“What is actually proposed is an increased regulation instead, including mandatory licensing for stores that sell alcohol and identification checks for buyers,” the association said.
“Alcohol has been consumed in Indonesia for centuries, and it is an integral part of cultural and religious ceremonies among some of the country’s more than 300 ethnic groups.
“A survey of 1,600 people in eight Indonesian cities, conducted by another Jakarta-based research institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, found that most respondents did not regard drinking as a health crisis.”
The BHA’s comments follow multiple Australian news outlets reporting on the proposed ban, which would be devastating for the already crippled tourism industry in Bali.
Ricky Putra, chairman of the BHA, believes the current laws regulating alcohol in Indonesia were sufficient.
“What needs to be done is to ensure the current laws on alcohol beverages are implemented properly,” he said.
“We already have limitations in Bali for example on where and who can sell alcohol. The proposed law is not needed.
“Each year, it comes up, it does the rounds and then all goes quiet again. There is nothing to tell us it is any different again this year.
“The last time it reached media-level hype was in 2016, and you can still get a drink in Bali.”