11 July 2024

The Thai cabinet rejected the Move Forward Party’s draft Progressive Liquor Bill yesterday (Tuesday), which seeks to liberalise the production of liquor for non-commercial purpose.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek said that the cabinet rejected the bill because liquor production for non-commercial purposes is already possible, provided that the production process complies with quality and environmental controls, to ensure the safety of those who consume it.

She said that the cabinet has instructed the Finance Ministry to amend its regulations regarding liquor production in a way that does not restrict the right of the public to produce liquor for non-commercial purposes.

She said that controls on the safety standards of the liquor and on environmental impacts from the production process are, nonetheless, still mandatory.

Move Forward MP for Bangkok, Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, who initiated the draft bill, told the media after the cabinet meeting yesterday that he had consulted with officials from the Excise Department about the quality and safety issues on several occasions.

He said that consumers would naturally reject liquor or beer if it tastes bad and the products will not be saleable, adding that the issue he wants addressed is that ordinary people cannot produce liquor or beer, while the very rich can.

During the cabinet meeting yesterday, Minister of Social Development and Human Security Juti Krairerk said that the Move Forward Party’s draft Progressive Liquor Bill is just a political ploy to win public support in the next election.

He said the Move Forward Party should have realised that such bill would not sail through the lower House anyway, but it decided to push the bill anyway, expecting it to be rejected by the government and enabling it to put the blame on the government for blocking the public from producing their own liquor during their election campaign.

According to the non-profit Internet Law Reform Dialogue, the cabinet’s rejection of the draft bill does not mean that it is automatically dropped.

The draft will be shelved for 60 days, after which it will be put on the House agenda for its first reading and the House Speaker can treat the bill as an urgent issue for debate if the cabinet does not submit its own version of the legislation after 60 days.

Taopiphop has long been known as a campaigner against oligopoly in liquor production, as he himself was arrested five years ago for brewing his own craft beer.

Yesterday the cabinet also rejected the Move Forward Party’s marriage equality draft bill that seeks to legalise same sex marriage. Like the progressive liquor draft bill, it can still enter parliament for deliberation.