Curtailing the sale of alcohol at a mall days before Chinese New Year is possibly an attempt by PAS to flex its muscles.
Or is it a carefully choreographed plan to introduce syariah law by the back door especially after the devastating green wave effect in GE15?
Restricting the sale of alcohol may be introduced today, but what will PAS want banned tomorrow?
Malaysians, both Malays and non-Malays, abhor the intense scrutiny of their lives.
The PAS MP for Permatang Pauh, Muhammad Fawwaz Mohamad Jan, claimed that the public had complained to him about the promotion and sale of alcoholic beverages at the main lobby area of Sunway Carnival Mall.
He “strongly objected” to the promotion and hoped that it would not recur.
His desire was to “safeguard Muslim sensitivities” and he reminded Malaysians of the adverse effects of alcohol consumption.
Fawwaz claims to be concerned about Muslim sensitivities. How committed is he?
As a Muslim woman, I wonder if he will address the many issues on my list, which as far as I am aware are shared by other Muslims.
These sensitive issues include things like child marriages where minors are married off to men who can be as old as their grandfathers.
Men who rape women, including minors, are allowed to marry their victims to avoid being punished, whipped and going to jail.
The high rate of divorce among Muslim couples needs resolving.
In 2013, it was reported that one Muslim/Malay couple filed for divorce every ten minutes!
The breakdown of the family unit has reached a critical state.
Some Muslim men who leave or divorce their wives absolve all responsibility for their children. Few ex-husbands pay alimony, and fewer still pay for maintenance and upkeep of their children.
The rules on polygamy are rarely observed. Many men fail to ask their first wives permission to marry, but instead scoot-off to southern Thailand to marry.
On their return, they pay the measly fine of RM1,000 to legitimize the marriage. They make a mockery of the sanctity of marriage.
Divorced men and polygamist fathers fail to provide a good role model for their sons, some of whom grow up to be feral.
The Mat Rempit menace is probably the result of the absence of a father figure in the house to instill discipline and provide a stable loving family environment.
There are many other topics the PAS Permatang Pauh MP could address, but alcohol is an easy bet.
Fawwaz mentioned the adverse effects of alcohol consumption, but when will he address drug taking among the Malays, alleged to be highest among the various races?
There are probably more traffic deaths from drivers under the influence of drugs than there are from drunk drivers.
Another Malay sensitivity he should address is the high dropout rate among Malay schoolchildren, especially in rural schools where the parents feel education is unnecessary.
Will he tackle the issue of corruption among civil servants, and more importantly among politicians?
PAS president Hadi Awang’s reluctance to condemn corruption is like giving the green light to the Malays to readily accept and offer bribes.
Is Fawwaz basking in the glory of being the little-known PAS religious scholar who displaced Anwar Ibrahim’s political dynasty’s decades-long stronghold of Permatang Pauh?
Is he also using alcohol, which is freely consumed during Chinese New Year, as a vehicle to propel PAS into the political limelight?
There are many other topics he could address, but alcohol is an easy bet.
Perhaps this is his way of being recognized by the party’s central committee members and others in the PAS political hierarchy.
By making a big issue of this CNY promotion, Fawwaz is on a self-promoting political agenda.
He is trying to generate greater recognition among PAS leaders so that he can quickly ascend the greasy political ladder.
He is taking advantage of the sales of alcohol in Penang, which is an island that is mostly non-Malay and non-Muslim, to establish himself as someone who is not afraid of a head-on collision with Penang’s DAP MPs.
Penang has long been known as a DAP stronghold and its significance is very symbolic. The island is a long established fort for Chinese Malaysian political power.
Nationalist Malays probably feel that Umno-Baru was weak and unable to unseat DAP (and Harapan), but after Fawwaz’s victory in Permatang Pauh, the party probably feels that it has a chance of toppling the DAP powerbase.
Before Fawwaz gets carried away, he must realize that Penang is part of multiracial Malaysia.
Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman said the nation was set up as a multiracial, multicultural and secular state, with Islam as its official religion.
What are Fawwaz’s real intentions? Before he or PAS celebrates, they must realize that their actions are seen as trampling on the rights of non-Malays and non-Muslims.
Why make life difficult for companies which deal in alcohol? The pandemic destroyed many businesses. The global economic outlook is just as gloomy.
The alcohol and brewing industry, both upstream and downstream, is not just about the scores of thousands employed in the ancillary trades such as bottling and transport companies, or in entertainment and hospitality.
The activities will rejuvenate our economy and bring in the much needed revenue for the treasury.
Malays form a huge percentage of the workforce of the various industries that alcohol and brewing supports. Fawwaz should not cut off his nose to spite his face.
Policing the sale of alcohol at the mall has nothing to do with religion. Fawwaz should stop dragging alcohol into politics.
- Malaysiakini: ‘Not your job to police booze’ – DAP rep’s sober reminder to PAS MP
- MySinchew: Ban Oktoberfest today, but what will PAS ban tomorrow?
- Malay Mail: One divorce in Malaysia every 10 minutes
(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)