Rally against Ronnie: PAS leaders distance themselves

(The Star) – The PAS central leadership has distanced itself from a proposed protest rally calling for Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu to be stripped of his local government portfolio.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said there were no plans to hold any demonstrations, adding that the party would leave it to the state government to decide on the issue of selling beer in Muslim-majority areas in Selangor.

“No, there are no plans to hold any demonstrations,” he said, when asked about speculation that Selangor PAS Youth, led by its chief Hasbullah Ridzwan, was planning to hold a protest.

Hasbullah was quoted by an English daily Thursday as saying that the rally would proceed at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque in Shah Alam on friday whether or not a police permit was obtained.

When contacted, Hasbullah claimed his statement had been taken out of context as no decision had been made to conduct a demonstration.

“I said we will wait for the exco to decide, as the Mentri Besar has promised us that there will be a solution.

“The reporter also asked me if I would apply for a police permit. I said if we have decided to protest, then of course we will go ahead even if we do not have a permit. But I did not say we were going to demonstrate for sure,” he said.

However, Selangor PAS information chief Roslan Shahir Mohd Shahir said the party will begin a statewide campaign to push the state government into stripping Liu of this particular portfolio.

On Wednesday, Selangor PAS chief Datuk Hassan Ali had asked Liu to be stripped of his portfolio after accusing him of meddling in enforcement action by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) which had confiscated beer worth RM620 from a 7-Eleven outlet.

Liu said they did not have the authority to conduct such action and had directed MBSA to return the beer and apologise to the outlet’s owner.

On Thursday, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim rejected calls to strip Liu of his local government portfolio and gave a stern warning to state executive councillors and government officials not to issue any more statements on the “beer issue” until a solution is reached.

Mustafa said the party’s central committee was confident that the issue of selling alcoholic beverages could be resolved by the state government.

“We are confident the Mentri Besar will be able to resolve the problem wisely,” he said.

Mustafa said PAS was not seeking for a blanket ban on the sale of alcohol in Selangor, but wanted retailers to be more sensitive towards the sentiments of Muslims.

“From the Islamic point of view, we cannot force non-Muslims to not consume liquor. That is why we cannot have a blanket ban.

“Retailers must be given guidelines on the sensitivity of the issue. They have to be more sensitive in majority-Muslim areas. We are okay in non-Muslim majority areas,” he said.