The End of Beer…What’s the next target? Toto Magnum?

It was with some relief that I heard on the evening news that the MB of Selangor, Khalid Ibrahim, announced that there will be no blanket alcohol ban in “Muslim-majority” areas in Selangor. (Not that I am a lover of drink and beer! … far from it).

Khalid went on to say that the state will draw up self–regulatory approaches with respect to the sale of alcohol and beer by next month. In the meantime, you can bet that the debate and statements by various quarters, in particular the ones playing up strife between PR partners, are bound to continue for a while yet.

However, my relief was qualified. Khalid, in his wisdom as state leader, must have acknowledged that the actions of enforcement officers of the Majlis Bandar Shah Alam (MBSA) had been illegal. The MBSA had clearly exceeded their authority when they seized beer worth RM620 from a 7-Eleven convenience store.

There are no by-laws in existence which allow local council officers to seize beer from convenience stores, unless the outlet is caught selling beer to Muslims or minors.

There are, however, Syariah laws. In particular, under the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment 1995, it is a crime for Muslims to consume or sell alcohol. The MB must have also realised that consultations with various stakeholders are essential, before the formulation of any by-laws pertaining to this issue.

Calls have been made not to re-invent the wheel, and to learn or adopt measures adopted by other countries.

The Council later returned the seized beer to the owner, but not before a fuming Ronnie Liu, the state Exco in charge of local government, had ordered them to do so. And of course he cannot be faulted, as he was clearly right from the standpoint of the law.