Consuming Alcohol in Malaysia – Don’t say we never told you!

Alcohol is a common beverages around the world when it comes to festivals and celebrations. In Malaysia, however it might be a slightly tricky situation. This is because, depending on which part of Malaysia you are in, the sale of alcohol beverages varies.

Pricing of alcohol in Malaysia

Compared to other countries, the price of alcohol beverages in Malaysia is slightly higher where you will need to pay around RM8 for a can or mug of beer. This however differs in free tax regions like Langkawi Island, Tioman Island and in the Federal Territory of Labuan.

Where can you buy alcohol beverages

Malaysia’s official religion is Islam and hence it is somewhat not polite to consume alcohol in the midst of Muslims which is why you will find that there are designated areas of entertainment where pubs and discos congregate and those are the places where you can find a lot of outlets that serve alcohol beverages.

You also can usually find beer and alcohol beverages in supermarkets and convenience stores like 7-Eleven although sale of such items to Muslims are banned.

Different laws in different states

As Kelantan is governed by the PAS, an Islamic based party, the sale of alcohol is banned. The ban is also extended to its neighbouring state Terengganu due to their strong religious people there, hence it is very difficult to find such items in those states. However, in tourists oriented states like Penang, Malacca and in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, the sale of alcohol is allowed although you are required to consume them sparingly and be sensitive to the public.

More relaxed practices in East Malaysia

The situation however is very different in the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak where the Tuak and Tapai are commonly consumed. The Tuak is from Sarawak while the latter is from Sabah and they are basically fermented rice wine which are quite high in alcohol content. Tuak and Tapai are considered to be a traditional drink and are served during the Gawai Dayak and Kaamatan festivals of the 2 states. This is naturally the harvest festival for the ethnic groups and are served publicly during such festivals as well as other celebrations like Christmas and New Years’ Day.


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