LCA restricts liquor transactions at sales points, as well as the consumption of liquor in public areas between 10.30pm and 7.00am. Liquor consumption is still allowed within licensed premises, as long as it is ‘during the trading hours applicable to the licensed premises’.
‘Liquor’ in LCA comprises either beverages that contain over 0.5% ethanol, any mixture of ethanol and another substance or liquid that contains over 0.5% ethanol, or ‘any other substance (whether or not a beverage or liquid) that is prescribed by the regulations as liquor’.
At present, the act also applies to all ‘alcoholic products’ that contain more than 0.5% alcohol. This includes, for example, rum-flavoured ice creams, liquor-infused chocolates, and alcohol-infused cakes like tiramisu.
“The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act (LCA) was implemented in 2015 to restrict the sale of liquor at retail outlets and consumption of liquor in public places,” said MHA in an official statement.
“The measures have significantly reduced public drunkenness and related disamenities. […] [Therefore, based] on feedback, we are in discussions with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and industry stakeholders on providing an exemption for food products containing alcohol, where there is little or low likelihood of alcohol abuse.
“Such exempted products can then be sold and consumed [after 10.30pm daily] without the restrictions specified under the LCA.”
MHA has declined to respond to our further queries on the maximum/minimum alcohol percentage levels within which they will limit the review to.
“It is all currently still in review and we have no further comment at this point in time” said an MHA spokeswoman.
Of ice cream and alcohol
Amongst the ‘alcoholic products’ that are potentially up for review are a variety of Udders ice-creams flavours.
Earlier this year, Singapore-based Udders was pushed into the spotlight when local supermarket chain Fairprice decided to stop selling some of its flavours after 10.30pm in order to observe LCA requirements.
"We have restricted sales of Udders ice cream that contains alcohol content, exceeding 0.5 per cent, from 10.30pm to 7am," said a Fairprice spokesman to The Straits Times.
Four Udders flavours contain alcohol levels above 0.5%: Orange Liqueur Dark Choc (2.7%), Wineberries (3.5%), Tira-miss-u (3.8%) and Rum Rum Raisin (3.9%).
A brief history and summary of the 2015 Liquor Control Act
The LCA was enforced after a fatal traffic accident in December 2013 involving a private bus and a foreign worker led to riots in Little India.
The worker “was believed to be drunk at the time and tried to board the bus which was already full,” according to the official statement of the incident on the Singapore government’s website.
The worker had tried to board the bus, which was already full, and was knocked down as a result. Additionally, reports said that members of the crowd also appeared drunk and had beer and liquor bottles in their hands.
Over 400 people were embroiled in the violent riot, a vehicle was set on fire, over 50 individuals were injured and over 20 vehicles damaged.
The banning of public alcohol consumption was first implemented in Little India, and LCA was later brought into force.
Certain areas within Singapore like Little India and Geylang are designated as Liquor Control Zones, which have stricter regulations that apply to them. Offences committed within these areas can carry penalties that are up to 1.5 times harsher.