The announcement by the PAS-led Kedah State Government yesterday that they would be banning all gambling shops as well as introduce curbs on the sale of alcohol in the state has courted criticism from a majority of Malaysians. In fact, such a move is seen by many as infringing upon the rights of non-Muslims residing in the state.
Responding to the announcement made by controversial Kedah Menteri Besar (MB) Dato’ Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng in a statement yesterday slammed such a move and labelled it as an ‘extremist policy’. Furthermore, Lim also categorised the move as being just a political device by PAS to distract attention away from the failings of its state government in Kedah.
“By bullying a minority, the Kedah Menteri Besar feels he can reap the maximum political benefit with minimal political cost. Non-Muslims do not understand why they are singled out when they sell to non-Muslims not Muslims, especially when Muslims are prohibited from patronising these outlets.”
Lim, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bagan further added that fines can be imposed on those who sell to Muslims but to ban such activities will be seen as PAS’ attempt to forcibly impose its extremist values on non-Muslims, which contradicts diversity and has no place in a plural society such as Malaysia. As such, the much maligned move makes a mockery of the ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ policy touted by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri as PAS is part of the Federal Government.
Lim then asserted,
“Does both MCA and MIC support such a sudden and hasty policy decision by Kedah? Both Keluarga Malaysia, MCA, MIC and GPS Ministers must take full responsibility for extremist policies from PAS.“
Meanwhile, the MP for Bukit Gelugor, Ramkarpal Singh also criticised the decision made by the Kedah State Government to arbitrarily impose a blanket rule purely on personal views that gambling activities contribute to social ills is a clear form of abuse of power. In a statement yesterday, Ramkarpal reminded Sanusi that he is bound by laws and can’t simply ignore them.
Therefore, refusing to renew licences for these businesses is akin to telling them that their right has been denied despite complying with all necessary rules and regulations, simply because the Kedah MB wishes it. Isn’t that practically dictatorship?
Ramkarpal further elaborated,
“No doubt, section 107(3) of the Local Government Act, 1976 provides that a local authority has the discretion to refuse renewing such licences but such discretion must be exercised within the confines of the law and certainly cannot be exercised arbitrarily.”
“The Federal Government must intervene in this senseless act of the Kedah MB forthwith or risk be seen as weak in the eyes of the public as surely, such an act is not only illegal but totally unnecessary.”
The Federal Government must urgently act against this divisive move by the PAS-led Kedah government and stay true to the Keluarga Malaysia spirit. Or, are extremist policies now part of Keluarga Malaysia too? – The Rocket.