Khalid: No to PAS call, gag order to all

By Edward Rajendra, The Star

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim outrightly rejected calls to strip state executive councillor Ronnie Liu of his local government portfolio and gave a stern warning to all his people not to issue any more statements on the “beer issue” until a solution is reached.

He said the calls by Selangor PAS for Liu to be stripped of his portfolio over the seizure of beer from a convenience store was a “non-issue.”

Liu also holds the research and studies portfolio.

Selangor PAS had accused the councillor of interfering with the enforcement operations of local authorities at Shah Alam, who had seized beer from the outlet, saying that it came under the ban on the sale of alcohol in all Muslim-majority areas in the city.

Liu had instructed the local authorities to return the beer and issue an apology to the outlet’s owner.

“I am tasked with solving the problem at hand and … coming out with guidelines on the sale of alcoholic beverages that would take into account the sensitivities of all races,” Khalid said on Wednesday.

He said that all parties must strive to find a solution that would take the views of the public into account while respecting the needs of the different communities in Selangor.

“We will discuss the issue at the Selangor State Economic Council meeting this Friday to find an immediate solution.

“Once we do this, the problem will become a non-issue and until then, no state official or executive council member can release statements on the beer issue,” Khalid said.

He conceded that the Friday decision may not be a “comprehensive one, but will help traders and the public understand the state government’s stand.”

“We need to come out with clear guidelines to avoid further confusion on the issue, which might cause unwarranted discomfort among Selangorians who are multiracial and multicultural,” he said.

He declined to comment when asked if Selangor PAS’ proposed ban on alcoholic beverage sales in all Muslim-majority areas in Selangor might cause a rift among the three parties in the Pakatan Rakyat state government.

On Tuesday, Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Ali had called for Liu to be stripped of his portfolio, and suggested that Khalid take up the portfolio instead.