Why you need to be 21 to buy alcohol: To avoid addiction, says Health Ministry

John Bunyan
The government has set the minimum age of 21 to buy alcohol beverages. — AFP pic

IPOH, Oct 20 — Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said the government had set the minimum age of 21 instead of 18 to buy alcohol beverages as they don’t want youths to be addicted to alcohol.  

“We certainly do not encourage young Malaysians to engage in drinking activities, because we’re worried that more of them might develop to become a chronic alcoholic, which is detrimental to health,” he told reporters at the Ipoh Cardiovascular Society Scientific Meeting held at the Weil Hotel here.

“This is not a new regulation. It was signed into effect in 2016 by the former Health Minister. At that time, because of some feedback from the industry, the implementation of that ruling was delayed.

“And we had given enough grace time, which has already exceeded the 18 months. So it is not a sudden implementation, but complying with the 2016 ruling,” added Dr Lee.  

On Wednesday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said that the minimum age to buy alcohol beverages at 21 instead of 18 will be enforced with immediate effect.

Dzulkefly also said all alcohol drink products should display a notice saying ‘drinking alcohol can endanger health’ and vendors are also required to display a sign to show the age requirement to purchase alcohol.

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