- POSTED: 11 Dec 2013 18:15
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Liquor licences at the Little India cluster and its surrounding areas will be suspended from 6am on December 14 to 5.59am on December 16.
SINGAPORE: Liquor licences at the Little India cluster and its surrounding areas will be suspended from 6am on December 14 to 5.59am on December 16.
In a letter handed to all shops holding such licences on Wednesday, the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department said the decision has been taken in consultation with the Liquor Licensing Board.
This comes in the wake of a riot involving some 400 people which took place at Little India on December 8.
Police said the suspension will help to stabilise the situation, and allow them to assess the next steps in consultation with various stakeholders.
They warned that enforcement actions will be taken against any infringement of the suspension order and may eventually lead to the revocation of the holder's liquor licence.
However, some businesses in the vicinity are concerned about the impact of the temporary ban on their weekend takings.
In response, the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association said it will be engaging with shopkeepers to help address their concerns.
Some businesses say their takings will be affected by the move as they are very heavily reliant on foreign workers especially when it comes to the sale of liquor.
Shops within the borders of Jalan Besar, Race Course Road and Syed Alwi Road had notices regarding the liquor ban put up.
Praba from Tasmac Mart, who makes about S$50,000 a weekend just from the sale of alcohol, is one of those who are worried about the impact on his business.
He said: "The rental is very high in this area -- more than S$12,000. Most of the business is from Saturday and Sunday. Other days can also make money, but the money made over the four weekends can cover us for the whole month."
"This shop sells mostly liquor... If we don't sell, how to pay rent? We are so affected (by the ban)," said Kailasam from Arasi Trading.
Restaurants in the area are also concerned.
Jivanta Perera, a staff member at Tandoori Restaurant, said: "The government should look into banning outdoor sales instead of indoor sales. Customers that are coming here are paying top dollar and only the cream of the crop are coming here. Right now, for these three days, we are looking at a 20 per cent dip."
To help the shops, the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association will be engaging landlords soon.
"The landlords are the one making the most money so that's why business is down. They saw the business being encouraged by this heavy drinking so the rent has gone up threefold," said S R Gopal, vice chairman of the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association.
The association also encouraged these stores to diversify their business and not just be reliant on alcohol sales.
It is believed that some of the stores sell adulterated liquor to workers as it is much cheaper. When asked, the association said it will not condone such activities and will report them to authorities.