Cool response to Hasan’s proposal

(NST) SHAH ALAM: Pas state commissioner and state executive councillor Datuk Dr Hasan Ali is "digging his own grave in politics" following his recent announcement empowering mosque officials to detain Muslims who drink alcohol in the state.


State speaker and DAP assemblyman for Sungai Pinang Teng Chang Khim said people would view Hasan's move as a "fundamentalist" policy.

"I don't want to interfere in Muslim affairs but Hasan seems to think that he speaks for all Muslims," he said when asked to comment on Hasan's announcement on Monday.

Hasan, who is in charge of Muslim Affairs, Malay Customs, Infrastructure and Public Amenities, had said the move was provided for under the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment 1995.

According to Section 18 of the enactment, Muslims can be fined up to RM3,000, jailed up to two years or sentenced to both, for drinking in public.

Muslims who make, sell, offer to sell, display, possess or buy any alcoholic drinks can be fined up to RM5,000, jailed for three years or both.

Teng said Pas in the state was repeating what the party did in Terengganu, where it lost the state to Barisan Nasional in 2004.

"Pas is arrogant and snobbish by suggesting fundamentalist values just like what they did between 1999 and 2004, which eventually led them to lose the state."

Meanwhile, state executive councillor and Parti Keadilan Rakyat representative Yaakob Sapari said the Selangor Syariah enactment had always provided for mosque officials to be empowered to arrest Muslim offenders.

Mosque officials had been given such powers even when the Barisan Nasional ruled the state.

"There is nothing new in this. The enactment gives such powers but it must be used wisely and there should not be any abuse of power."

Yaakob said their appointment letters were valid for only a year and had to be renewed yearly.

Although mosque officials had been given such powers previously, they were never used as there were concerns of abuse of power.


PKR's Sri Muda assemblyman Shuhaimi Shafiei said although he supported Hasan's move, the latter should have discussed it in the state executive council first.

"He should have done it with the Pakatan Rakyat spirit in mind so as to avoid any problems."

In Alor Star, the Pas-led Kedah government said it had no plans to deputise mosque officials to catch Muslims who consumed alcohol.

State Islamic Religion, Education and Co-operative Development Committee chairman Datuk Mohamed Taulan Mat Rasul, however, said 130 people would soon be appointed to help check immoral activities among Muslims in the state.

"We have no plans to emulate the Selangor government but we would be appointing special officers to check against moral decadence among Muslims," he said when contacted in Mecca, where he is performing the umrah.

In Kuantan, Pahang Religious Affairs committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sahfri Abdul Aziz said the state government was in favour of the move but said the legal aspect needed to be ironed out carefully.

"We have considered the idea but it is still in the discussion stage and the matter has not been proposed to the state assembly.

"We feel it will help to rope in mosque officials to carry out this operations but we have to consider the matter very carefully to avoid problems and confusion."

In Johor Baru, the state's religious committee chairman Zainal Abidin Osman said Johor already had an existing mechanism to deal with the issue.

"Officers from the Johor Islamic Religious Department already carry out regular checks and raids on nightspots to take action against Muslims who consume alcohol.

"In fact, our operations are carried out in the presence of the police, to ensure that our raids comply with the law.

"The department's officers are already fully trained, so there is no need for mosque officials in Johor to conduct these operations."