Regulate, not ban, liquor sales, says inter-faith group

The KL City Hall has imposed strict rules on sales of alcohol starting Oct 2021. – FMT photo.

THE Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) wants alcohol sales to be regulated in various outlets instead of an outright ban.

The inter-faith group was responding to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary’s recent statement that liquor sales restrictions set to be imposed in KL next year, could be expanded to more states.

The MCCBCHST said the government could instead regulate the liquor sales based on model like that of Singapore’s which prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages between 10.30pm and 7am.

“The ban on drink driving, limiting liquor sales to those above 18 years, limiting liquor sales to certain hours or imposing such other reasonable conditions are supported.

“But to impose a total ban on sundry shops, convenience stores, grocery shops and Traditional Chinese Medicine halls beginning Oct 1, 2021, will be unconstitutional as it violates non-Muslim rights under Article 11.

“Some non-Muslim religions adherents including natives of Sabah and Sarawak take liquor during cultural and religious ceremonies,” the group said in a statement, Malaysiakini reported.

Starting next October, grocery shops, convenience stores as well as Chinese medicine shops in KL would be barred from selling alcohol.

This has infuriated many including army veterans like Patriot president Mohamed Arshad Raji and former armed forces chief Tan Sri Hashim Mohd Ali who called on the government to respect the rights of non-Muslims.

The joint statement was issued in the name of MCCBCHST president Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim of Christian Federation Malaysia (CFM), Malaysian Gurdwaras Council’s Sardar Jagir Singh, Malaysia Hindu Sangam’s RS Mohan Shan, Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia’s Dao Zhang Tan Hoe Chieow and the Venerable Sing Kan of the Malaysian Buddhist Association.

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