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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

> Alcohol ban: Where's the logic, PAS?

by Yip Ai Tsin

Dismay was the immediate reaction to Selangor PAS' proposed blanket ban on the sale of alcohol in Muslim-majority areas in the state, as stakeholders questioned the need for such a drastic measure.

Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor president Jacob George stressed that the state government should not “legalise people's culture, drinking habits and lifestyle”.

"There is a larger, deeper, sinister and more clandestine agenda surrounding this whole issue. This is the beginning of a long line of drastic measures that will wreak havoc," he claimed when contacted today.

"It is beer today. Soon they might disallow food that is not halal and restrict the sale of houses in non-Malay areas," he said.

He also questioned PAS' definition of "Muslim-majority areas" and the rationale of targeting outlets like 7-11, a franchise of convenience stores.

"I challenge PAS to pick on big hotels (in) Shah Alam as they serve liquor and alcoholic beverages there.”

Yesterday, Selangor PAS commissioner Hassan Ali had urged Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to finalise the guidelines regulating the sale of beer in Muslim-majority areas as soon as possible.

'Lawful right to trade'

Guinness Anchor Bhd managing director Charles Ireland said that any kind of ban or restriction is not the right solution to the predicament.

"We believe that self-regulation and education is the best way forward. A blanket or partial ban, or having restricted hours is not the right way to address the issue at hand," he said in a statement.

"Actions like the recent beer raid in Shah Alam, which impact on businesses' lawful right to trade, make an already difficult business environment even more difficult.

"We think that the rights of the alcohol producers, retailers and consumers to go about their own business should also be respected.” - Malaysiakini.