In a move that will be congratulated by many but condemned by beer drinkers, the Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) is said to be pursuing a campaign to control the sale of beer and other alcoholic products in the state of Selangor.
The Sun newspaper reported on 20th May that the PAS is urging the State government of Selangor to table a motion to limit the sale of beer in the state. The Sun however equaled the limiting of the sale to a ‘ban’ and cried foul over the issue.
The idea of controlling the sale of liquor in Selangor stems from the time former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister. The State’s councillors and hotel operators were in discussions with the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) to limit the sale of alcoholic products in hotels. The idea was to declare all outlets selling beer and other alcoholic products as ‘haram’ outlets that is illicit for Muslims.
Currently the state government is discussing the limitation of beer after midnight while some ideas like imposing a license to sell or buy beer was voiced. The state government is said to be in favor of the selling of beer freely considering the state being a multiracial one.
However, the PAS is also said to be against the free sale of beer in supermarkets due to complaints by Muslims who find it offensive that carbonated drinks are sold next to alcoholic products in Tesco, Giant, Jusco and Carrefour for example.
Restaurants, sundry shops and hotels selling beer and other alcoholic products also risk finding their outlet being classified as ‘haram’ to Muslims if the idea mooted during the tenure of Abdullah Badawi is picked up again, said an observer to WFOL.tv.
He added that the PAS had a point since beer is now being sold freely alongside fuzzy drinks with alcoholic contents in shopping marts. ‘The problem is the outlets make it obvious to the public that the alcoholic drinks are being sold very freely and are accessible to anyone,”
“Maybe a sort of control could help reduce the anger of Muslims who are not happy with the beer and other such products being sold normally as if they were the new ‘cola’ of Malaysia,” he said.
WFOL.tv was told the state assembly in Selangor is divided on the issue, with pro-beer Assembly men against any form of ban but they are forced to follow the move by the PAS in order to prevent any possible backlash against the PR.
With the events in Perak, the State Government in Selangor will not prevent the PAS and other councillors or state Assemblymen to pursue the idea that beer sale and other alcoholic products should be controlled in the state.
“If the PAS is ridiculized on this issue, the DAP and the PKR may end up in the opposition in Selangor. This is a very important test for the PR in the state,” said the observer.
The PAS may also push for sellers to have a liquor license to sell beer and if that is made possible, it will simply mean any outlets selling beer will be considered ‘haram’ outlets and Muslims will not be able to buy any products from such outlets.
“It is also up to the outlets like Tesco and Carrefour etc to park their beer products in the ‘haram’ sector in their supermarts,” said the observer when asked about a solution that will resolve the upcoming conflict