Following the recent death of a tourist after consuming methanol-tainted arak palm wine on the neighboring island of Lombok, the governments of Australia and the UK demanded that the Bali provincial administration apply stricter controls on the production and distribution of local alcohol beverages, arak in particular, throughout the island.
After drinking the deadly liquor during his New Year holiday on Gili Trawangan, a small islet off the coast of Lombok, Australian national Liam Davies, 19, was flown back to Sir Charles Gardner hospital in Perth. He died at the hospital in January.
Arak is a locally made liquor often mixed — by sellers or drinkers — with dangerous substances ranging from methanol to mosquito repellent, to increase the seller’s profit margin and, for the drinkers, to get drunk faster and cheaper. A methanol overdose can be seen through symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, stomachache, kidney failure, permanent blindness or comas. In 2009, at least 18 people across Bali died due to arak poisoning.
Further incidents had happened to tourists in Bali, said head of the Bali Tourism Agency Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu on Wednesday. “They became seriously ill, but none of them died,” said Subhiksu.
Subhiksu said his agency received numerous emails from Australia, the UK and other countries with questions on the issue. The Australian Consulate General in Bali has also met with the Bali governor.
“We have been bombarded with questions over the distribution of arak in Bali, demanding stricter controls on the production and distribution of this type of alcohol to avoid it harming residents and visitors,” said Subhiksu at a working meeting of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Bali chapter.
Subhiksu gave assurances that the governor’s regulation on alcohol beverages and a special monitoring team coordinated by the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) would be able to prevent the harmful effects of the beverage among visitors and local residents.
“We routinely perform sweeps. We’re doing our best to prevent any further victims,” he said, while calling on all hotels, restaurants, bars and alcohol beverage vendors to stop distributing alcohol beverages without labels and official licenses from the health agency and the Monitoring Agency of Drugs and Food (BPOM).
PHRI Bali chapter head Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati said most hotels, restaurants and bars only offered alcoholic beverages with official labels. “Arak methanol is never offered on menus,” he said.
Read the full post, here.
Source: The Jakarta Post | Author: Wasti Atmodjo & Panca Nugraha