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Blanket alcohol ban proposed in Indonesia

Legislation to ban the consumption of all alcoholic drinks and introduce jail terms of up to two years for offenders has been proposed in Indonesia.

The Indonesian island of Bali would be exempt from the proposed ban

According to reports in the Jakarta Post the bill, put forward by two Islamic parties, seeks to ban the sale, production, distribution and consumption of any beverage containing more than 1% alcohol.

Indonesia, an archipelago comprising thousands of islands with an estimated population of more than 250 million, home to the world’s largest Muslim population.

“Under the bill, consuming alcoholic beverages could land a person in jail as it will be treated similarly to drug trafficking,” said Muhammad Arwani Thomafi, a member of one of the two parties, speaking to The Jakarta Post.

Previous attempts to crack down on alcohol consumption have been seen as posturing to appeal to voters before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

According to reports, the proposed legislation would exempt some locations to protect tourism, including five-star hotels and the resort island of Bali.

Beer sales have increased by 54% in Indonesia over the past decade with brands such as the Bintang beer, brewed by PT Multi Bintang Indonesia Tbk which is majority owned by Heineken, particularly popular.

However despite increasing sales, a survey by market researcher Nielsen found that in 2014 only 2.2% of Indonesians over the age of 20 had consumed alcohol in the previous 12 months.

A separate piece of legislation, banning the sale of alcoholic drinks at mini-markets in the country, will come into force on Thursday.

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