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Curb on liquor sales is unjustified


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Patriot asks minister Ahmad Shaary which is more evil – drinking liquor or indugling in corruption.

The case about Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s latest ruling to curb the sale of liquor and the subsequent announcement by a deputy minister that the curb might extend to the rest of the country is both unnecessary and ridiculous. Period.

A few days ago, City Hall announced that starting October next year, sundry shops, grocery stores, convenience stores and Chinese medicine shops could no longer sell liquor.

On 21 November, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister Department (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary was reported as saying the government had not ruled out expanding the ban to other states.

The public could see through that this was a tactic of testing all the way since June, when Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa made the call to the government to stop issuing liquor licences.

Ahmad Shaary’s latest suggestion is like allowing a part of the camel’s body into a tent. The public, especially the non-Muslims, are mindful of what Pas leaders had previously said. Non-Muslims had been frequently assured they would not be subjected to regulations pertaining to Islam and Islamic affairs, including the hudud issue. Non-Muslims were told that they could consume non-halal food as long as their religion permit it.

As such, Patriot reminds Ahmad Shaary and the Pas leaders not to make a mockery of their words. Otherwise, public perception of their hypocrisy will only worsen.

If curbing of liquor sale is because of drink driving, there are better ways to tackle the problem. The approach must be one of an all-inclusive consultation, including the business community, not merely with a show-making select group.

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If health is the issue, surely these smart Alecs should know there are numerous other food and beverages that are worse for health compared to beer and mild liquor. It is not Patriot’s business to promote any alcoholic drink. But upholding social justice and the value of righteousness, encouraging fair business practices and voicing up against bullying tactics are within the bounds of our business.

Our Malaysian society has existed for generations. We have been a multiracial and a multi-religious nation living in tolerance, understanding and mutual respect among the three major races. Based on this understanding, among others, our colonial masters gave us independence in 1957 on a platter.

Politicians need to be reminded of the ramifications of their decision to curb liquor sales and to not issue licences. These include [the impact on] jobs, small businesses, transport, restaurants, hotels, tourism and our national income. Also, others might see our leaders as Taliban-like.

We would like to ask the pious Ahmad Shaary to tell us which is more evil – drinking liquor or indulging in corruption. Which is more damaging to our society and nation? Which evil attracts the Malay most?

We invite Ahmad Shaary to read our statement regarding the arrest of immigration officers. Ahmad Shaary should also look at the number of politicians currently under corruption charges.

Annuar Musa and Ahmad Shaary, please tell us which of the two evils should action be taken first – banning liquor or eradicating the scourge of corruption in Malay society.

Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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