Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Muslims target the Bundy Bear!

It's enough to make a Bundy Bear cry!

The backwood web-toed, buck toothed, bastard sons of intolerance have had major victory in intruding into peoples lives with the cunningly although incorrectly nick named ANTI-PORN Bill (Bugger all to do with Porn and a lot to do with cowardice and bowing to religious hard line fruit cups)and now it dang near impossible to get a decent drink so you can pretend its all just a bad dream.

Let's see.. that's bare shoulders, yoga, wine..NEXT.........

TIC TOCK.. Tic Tock

The Straits Times (Singapore)

December 13, 2008

A Spirited Bid To Drain Corruption

John McBeth, Senior Writer

THE sign at the Grand Hyatt Hotel said it all: 'Due to the

Shortage of certain beverage products within Indonesia, many

Popular items are unavailable at the present time...This

Predicament is beyond our control and we are communicating with

The concerned authorities to try and resolve this situation.'

The lobby lounge bar in Jakarta's premier five-star hotel had

Run out of Scotch, gin, vodka and all other hard liquor. It is

The same situation, to varying degrees, in many hotels and

Retail outlets across the Indonesian capital - and on the

Tourist island of Bali as well.

The consumption of alcohol, even by only a small percentage of

The population, has always been a lingering issue in a

Muslim-majority nation where beer advertising is treated like

That for cigarettes: The brand name can be used, but not the

Product itself.

But only now is it dawning on drinkers that what they have been

Imbibing all these years had been either smuggled into the

Country or had escaped the full duty because of cosy

Arrangements between importers and the notoriously corrupt

Customs Department.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati's clean-up of the Customs

Department has changed all that, elevating the price for a

Bottle of wine or liquor by 300 to 500 per cent and dissuading

Distributors from buying new stocks.

The result: glum aficionados contemplating barely-drinkable

Shiraz, sky-high whisky prices - and a trouble-weary Bali

Tourist industry trying to figure out what impact this latest

Bombshell will have on its lifeblood.

Previously, two state-owned trading companies, Sarinah and

Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia (PPI), were responsible,

Respectively, for importing duty-free and duty-paid alcohol.

But when auditors found PPI stickers on smuggled liquor in

Mid-2006, it quickly became clear that the company was colluding

With Customs in depriving the state of an estimated 2.6 trillion

Rupiah (S$330 million) in duties a year.

PPI lost its licence as a duty-paid importer, which meant that

There were no alcohol shipments between November 2006 and

November last year - a few months after Sarinah was finally

Given the job of performing both functions.

The booze blockade didn't end there, however. Already hit by a

Plunging exchange rate, the 16 designated distributors have been

Willing to buy new stocks at the full duty-paid prices until it

Is determined if they are here to stay.

Banking on past experience, many are hoping the black market

Will eventually return to business as usual. But such optimism

Ignores the fact that, unlike all her predecessors, Dr Indrawati

Is deadly serious about stamping out smuggling and corruption.

Just how much she means business can be seen in this year's

Revenue collection, which is projected to top 535 trillion

Rupiah - a whopping 25.5 per cent jump over last year's takings.

Hotel associations are trying to persuade Dr Indrawati to end

The import quota system and to lower duties for wine and

Spirits, pointing to the harm that soaring prices are having on

Tourism and what they believe will be revenues as well.

No wonder. Top-shelf Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch whisky has

Gone from US$35 (S$52) to US$190. Red Label and other brands

Containing 15-20 per cent alcohol retail at more than US$50 a

Bottle. A bottle of cheap US$5 wine now costs US$20 to US$30.

Previously, more than 60 per cent of the wine came from what

Some call the 'grey market', in which distributors mixed up

Legally and illegally imported bottles as a way of bringing down


Now that the government has ended that racket, wine is subject

To 300 per cent duties, including a 150 per cent import tax and

A 40 per cent luxury goods tax, in line with its alcohol content.

The Finance Ministry is not ignoring the outcry. It is now

Studying a simplified system under which importers will be

Charged a specific import tax and excise duty based on volume

Rather than alcohol content - a practice followed in Singapore

And elsewhere.

But alcohol is a touchy subject during a time when hardline

Islamic groups are liable to seize on any issue. Says one

Western trade official: 'Indonesia says it's not a Muslim state,

But every time we try to deal with officials on this they say it

Is very sensitive.'

What makes the issue even more ticklish is that this is election

Time. Anxious to pander to Muslim voters - as they were with the

Unpopular anti-pornography law just passed - politicians are

Hardly inclined to be sympathetic about anything to do with


Some wine and spirits are still available, but retailers say

Much of these are either counterfeit or suspected to come from

Raids that Customs officers have conducted on outlets stocking

alcohol without the proper stickers.

Local liquor - basically flavoured, watered-down industrial

alcohol - has not been touched in the revenue drive, despite the

fact that manufacturers grossly under-invoice the 10-15 million

cases sold each year.

Like the Grand Hyatt, most major hotels have precious little

stock, with a five-star establishment selling a small glass of

mediocre red for 110,000 rupiah, or 130,000 rupiah when value

added taxes are added on.

Stand-alone bars, which do not have the same overheads, are

generally offering the same glass for about 60,000 rupiah, but

that represents a profit of only 10 per cent - hardly enough to

keep heads above water.

Many customers are switching to beer, with the two principal

brands, Bintang and Anker, seeing an 11 per cent increase in

sales this year in a country that normally consumes only 2.1

litres per capita a year - compared to 135 litres in Australia.


Rob Baiton said...

Yep, the shortage is all across town and at all levels.

The word is that there are about 60 containers sitting in various ports throughout the archipelago stacked with liquor and awaiting for businesses to pony up the 300%+ excise...

This all means that my bank balance gets healthier, I get healthier, and bar staff lose their jobs!

oigal said...

Yea its a bugger!!.. in truth probably bit harsh on the post title insinuating ALL Muslims are to blame..I guess its withdrawl..

Although, only complaint I have against the majority is they seem to let the minority control the agenda these days.

As for bar staff losing their jobs since when has anyone in cosy little government post given two cents for the little people losing their jobs.

Oh Well, no real skin off my nose, I am not that heavy a drinker..fridays nights for me but yet another nail in the coffin for VISIT INDONESIA

pj said...

This has to be the most embarrassing Visit Indonesia Year ever. Jero Wacik must be climbing the walls by now.

GJ said...

Looks like I'll be a lucky bugger this Xmas, endless supply of what ever I fancy. Where? Sydney!!! and loads of quality and CHEAP wine available.

oigal said...

Lucky bugger indeed..its ok I will stay back and hold down the fort!!

Just coz your are drunk on excess is no excuse not update ur blog

johnorford said...

only imports are a problem, eh? just resort to bintang and tuak!!