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Groups urge passing of alcohol law be sped up

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A man drinks beer at a grocery store in Phnom Penh. Post Pix

Groups urge passing of alcohol law be sped up

Civil society groups on Tuesday urged relevant ministries to finalise the draft law on controlling the consumption and sale of alcohol in the Kingdom as soon as possible.

The draft law has been with the Ministry of Health since 2015, a time in which several civil society-led surveys indicated that the vast majority of Cambodians wanted the government to restrict alcohol.

Civil society groups have said that it is time for Cambodia to have the law approved in the interests of citizens and to curtail the negative impact that excessive alcohol consumption is having in Cambodia.

The draft law consists of some 39 articles and 11 chapters, and aims to take measures to manage and control alcohol, and raise awareness and participation among relevant parties to promote responsible drinking.

However, the draft law has stalled at the Ministry of Health after being discussed and agreed to in inter-ministry meetings in 2015.

According to Pich Sros, Cambodian Youth Party president and a member of the Supreme Consultation Forum, the National Assembly is now pushing for the law’s finalisation.

“I will try to push any laws that are important to come out soon in the interests of society and the nation. This law is important, so I will try my best in my role to push it through,” he said.

On 11 April, Sros submitted a request to Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak to take measures to restrict advertisements for alcoholic beverages that encourage people to drink excessively.

Mom Kong, the executive director of the Cambodian Movement for Health Organisation, said it is time the government discussed speeding up the law’s finalisation.

He added that the draft law came amid growing public sentiment to restrict the negative effects of alcohol on society.

“The draft law that we proposed has been stalled for a while due to commune elections and then the national elections. Now the national elections have been held, so I think it is a suitable time for the draft law to be formulated in order to control alcohol,” he said.

Lok Kheng, chair of the 8th Committee of the National Assembly, said the body was taking measures to accelerate the draft law, adding that the Ministry of Health is paying close attention to its finalisation.

“I am concerned about the issue as it causes a lot of problems in society, especially affecting people’s health,” she said.

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng declined to comment on the issue on Tuesday.

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