Under fire, Liu says he is not ‘anti-Islam’

(The Malaysian Insider) – Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu claimed today that his objection to a recent ruling barring Muslims from working in outlets selling alcohol did not make him “anti-Islam” in any way.

Liu was forced to defend himself after being attacked by pro-Umno blogs as well as leaders from Barisan Nasional (BN) for demanding that the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) withdraw its ruling which was enforced last Monday.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had on Saturday accused Liu of “insulting Islam.”

“We are defending the morals and faith of Muslims but there are some people who want Muslims to do otherwise,” the minister was quoted as saying.

In response today, Liu, who is state Local Government Committee chairman, claimed that the accusations against him have been “grossly unfair.”

“It is very unfair for (Datuk Seri) Jamil to label me as anti-Islam… I am concerned about young people who work to earn a living.

“If they lose their jobs, banks and finance companies will go after them… can Jamil then help to pay their bills and find jobs for the retrenched lot?” Liu told The Malaysian Insider.

The DAP politician said what he understood about Islam was that it was a “great religion which focuses on compassion.”

“Who is he (Jamil) to condemn me? He is not the head of religion. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Sultans are the heads of religion, not him,” added Liu.

The Malaysian Insider understands that many state executive council members are unhappy with the recent ruling, which was made last Monday.

Liu has maintained that the “entire” Selangor exco had agreed to withdraw the ruling pending further studies on the matter, although Selangor executive councillor Datuk Hasan Ali has been reported as saying that he was completely in support of MPSJ’s ruling.

Early last week, the MPSJ decided to revoke the licences of businesses found to be violating the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment, which bans Muslims from working at premises selling alcohol.

Liu has since then said the state government’s disagreement on the matter was sending a “strong” message to local councils to “think before you act.”

“I think the Yang di-Pertua of MPSJ (Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan) is to blame for this. He should be held responsible because he did not consult the state government before going ahead with the ruling.

“The state is sending a strong message to local councils — before you want to do something, you have to study it carefully,” Liu had said.