Will alcohol be banned by next Gawai?

Malay Mail photo
By James Saton
Let’s sober up to the fact that the proposal by PAS to ban the sales of alcohol to curb drink driving has far-reaching implications – one that reaches beyond the hallowed halls of Putrajaya and extends to every nook and corner of this country.

PAS is no longer a party that stands on the fringe of national policy-making. Since March, the Islamist party has become a central component in our country’s administration. After a hiatus of decades, PAS leaders are now back in the Cabinet.

Lest we forget, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law is Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, who is also PAS secretary-general. He is the one who will have a big say on whether the proposal to ban the sales of alcohol goes through. Or any other laws, like the RUU355, which will introduce hudud in Malaysia.

The swing towards right-wing politics is unmistakable. The fanning of political flames in the name of expediency has only strained the fiber that holds this plural society – especially Sarawak’s – together. Honestly, if this trend continues,I am not even sure if Gawai next year will be an alcohol-free affair and soda will replace wine and beer come Christmas.

I am not sure what our Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders can do to hold off the green tide of extremism from flowing across the South China Sea. After all, it was GPS which helped put PAS in power during the coup that saw Tan Sri Muhyiddin made the eighth PM.

Our deputy chief minister Tan Sri James Masing famously said before Pakatan Harapan fell that GPS was more comfortable working with PAS than the DAP. What drove him to say that bewilders me. But fast forward less than three months later, and he’s already lamenting about PAS wanting to ban the sales of alcohol.

Be that as it may, let’s make merry and enjoy Gawai the best that we can (while observing social distancing of course). For we know not what the future holds.

James Saton is a reader of The New Sarawak from Sibu. The views here do not necessarily reflect those of this portal.

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