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
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
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
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.