Pakatan’s Concept of Civil Liberties

By Hakim Joe 

Khalid Ibrahim’s ill-advised intention to self-regulate the retailing of alcoholic drinks in Muslim-majority areas in Selangor bespeaks the hypocrisy in a political party that is supposed to promote civil liberties in a nation already bereft of it.

No blanket ban? Well, please explain to this dimwit why shopkeepers and convenience stores cannot openly sell it and why a self-regulatory “option” be subjected to official enforcement. Are alcoholic drinks a banned substance in Malaysia? No? Then tell me why the double standard. 

Unless the federal government specifically announces that all alcoholic drinks are now categorized as an illegal substance, the local authorities cannot impel anyone to stop retailing it.

Oh, the state government is not doing so? Well, they sure could have fooled me.

When a shop or a convenience store that has been legally selling beer openly for quite some time and now been informed that they can no longer to do, to me that’s a ban no matter what the authorities call it. When an action is deemed self-regulatory but yet subjected to enforcement, that’s a ban.

There might be people in Selangor that does not agree with me but regardless so, an on-going action that is now enforced through amendments to local council laws can only be quantified as repressive. Whether or not it only affects Muslim-majority areas is beside the point.

How does one classify if an area is Muslim-majority or not? The census is performed once every five years and does it therefore mean that the community racial mix will remain so between censuses? Ever heard of “relocation” as in moving residences? Should the local authorities now paint a green line on the ground to identify which areas are considered Muslim-majority and which areas are not? Segregating areas now, are we? Perhaps yellow for Chinese-majority areas and black for Indian-majority areas? 

The beer item is insignificant. The concept of self-regulation is not, especially when it requires enforcement. So what is forthcoming on the list of self-regulatory substances/businesses? Gambling outlets? Selling of pork? Non-halal restaurants? Pubs? Canned luncheon meat in supermarkets? What about non-Islamic banks? Will they be next? Christian churches, Chinese and Indian temples perhaps? How about regulating those evangelical stores that sell bibles? Perhaps the State Government can also “self-regulate” the selling of lottery tickets? Cinemas that show anything violent, sexual and non-Islamic should be okay though as the enforcers from JAIS could pop into any cinemas to perform an impromptu raid (with lights on and movie suspended).  

The regulating of alcoholic drinks in Muslim-majority areas set a precedent that will be disastrous to the concept of civil liberties (and human rights) in this state and all because a PAS dictator cum ex-UMNO deposed warlord deems it his holy crusade to voice out his sanctified concern.

State laws will now be amended accordingly because one Muslim man decided to “exercise his Islamic rights” in a secular and pluralistic society. If the state government is going to run the gauntlet every time this happens, it will be a sorry state of affairs. Is this what a Pakatan state government is all about? Is Malaysia, of which Selangor is a state within its national borders, a secular state or did we change this status overnight? 

What happens if another ex-MCA deposed warlord from Pakatan Rakyat announces that all mosques are to be relocated out from non-Muslim majority areas (due to its inactivity) or that some ex-MIC deposed warlord from Pakatan announces that the retail of beef is to be regulated in Indian-majority areas? Is the state government going to jump every time such “declarations of divine campaign” are voiced out in the media?  

So, Mister Khalid Ibrahim, what is next on the list? BTW, while you are deciding what to regulate next, might as well start painting the entire Muslim-majority areas in green. Need a contractor?