PAHIT MANIS / AHMAD A. TALIB: Alcoholic drinks — Pas vs DAP vs MB

(NST) TAN Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, the Selangor menteri besar, stood his ground and ruled that the sale of alcohol will continue in shops and convenience stores in Muslim-majority areas in the state. It's normal business, Khalid said.

I can almost hear the cheers among businessmen retailing such drinks in the state. And from some politicians too.

The decision may rile some people, especially Pas Selangor Commissioner Datuk Dr Hassan Ali who had urged the menteri besar to stop the sale of alcoholic drinks in Muslim-majority areas.

As the story goes, Hassan's call had received wide support from Pas members and supporters. They had been angered by what they described as "interference" by DAP's Ronnie Liu, also an exco in Khalid's administration.

Hassan said Liu had interfered in the operations carried out by local council enforcement officers who raided and removed alcoholic drinks from certain retail outlets in Muslim-majority areas.


Hassan and his Pas supporters had campaigned that action be taken against Liu. But Khalid, who himself is under pressure from his Parti Keadilan colleagues to step down or reshuffle his exco, has now said no to Hassan on both counts — the sale and action against Liu.

The issue is now back with Hassan. Would he accept the decision and advise his supporters to do the same? Or would he resume his attack and up the ante, this time against his boss, the menteri besar? Can Hassan afford to sit back and be ridiculed or undermined? Has he not lost "face" in this tussle with Liu?

Hassan will have to gather his thoughts and find some ways to assuage the disappointment and anger of his supporters.

But politicians generally will have no difficulties in finding justification in whatever decisions made. For now, Hassan must accept the fact that he doesn't have the ear of the menteri besar.

But Liu's DAP deputy in Selangor, assemblyman Tony Pua, has now turned the tables against Hassan. Pua accused Hassan of causing trouble and wanted Khalid to take disciplinary action against his fellow assemblyman.

Pua said Hassan's action had tarnished the Pakatan government's image and would give their political opponents a golden chance to make some headway.

I doubt if Khalid will act against Hassan. If he does, he would be seen to be siding too much with the DAP, if not already. As the state CEO, Khalid has much to do to keep his administration intact, especially when he himself is facing some rearguard attack.

The writer is also a blogger at and can be reached at [email protected]