Sri Lanka’s president on Sunday reimposed a four-decade-long ban on women buying liquor, just days after his finance minister had lifted the restriction
Maithripala Sirisena. Pic/ AFP
Colombo: Sri Lanka’s president on Sunday reimposed a four-decade-long ban on women buying liquor, just days after his finance minister had lifted the restriction.
Maithripala Sirisena said he had ordered Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera to revoke his decision last week to overturn the 1979 law prohibiting the sale of any type of alcohol to women. “From tomorrow [Monday], the minister’s order will be rescinded,” Sirisena’s office said in a statement, which added that the status quo will be restored.
The reversal comes after a finance ministry official said Samaraweera had revoked the 39-year-old law in an effort to strike sexist bills from the statute books.
“The idea was to restore gender neutrality,” ministry spokesman Ali Hassen said of the decision to roll back the ban.
But, the decision to relax laws on alcohol provoked a backlash in some quarters of the majority-Buddhist nation. The National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection had accused the finance minister of encouraging drinking, and had urged Sirisena to intervene and restore the restrictions.
Sirisena’s office also said he was reducing the time period that bars could be open.