Kedah drops Ramadan bar closure plan

By Hazland Zakaria
Jul 17, 11 | MalaysiaKini

The PAS-led Kedah government has dropped plans to enforce a 1997 state enactment that requires bars, discos and karaoke clubs to close during the coming Ramadhan, a state official told AFP today.

The northern state decided in May to enforce closure of all entertainment outlets during the holy month, as stipulated in the state law passed by the previous BN-led administration.

However, the plan drew criticism from entertainment outlet operators, as well as other Pakatan Rakyat components who feared that a blanket ban would alienate non-Muslim voters.

The most vocal has been from DAP chairperson Karpal Singh, who yesterday pressed for the ban be revoked.

Outlet operators have also warned that the ban may cause over 6,000 industry workers to get the axe.

The state official told AFP further that the controversy had been resolved after Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak met entertainment premise operators yesterday, and agreed to allow them to operate as long as they ensure no Muslims enter their premises during the fasting month.

“For Muslims, we have to make special allowances because nowadays too many youngsters are involved in hedonism… The state doesn’t want that,” he said, adding, “Entertainment during Ramadhan is only for non-Muslims.”

Ban not enforced

Meanwhile at a press conference in Ampang today, Azizan’s political secretary Mohd Sanusi Md Nor told reporters that the state has agreed not to enforce the shut down.

This, he said, was after entertainment operators voluntarily agreed to subject their licenses to being revoked should Muslims be found on their premises during Ramadhan.

Mohd Sanusi stressed that it would be up to the police and local governments to enforce this in the nearly 300 bars, discotheques, karaoke lounges and other clubs in the state, and not the state religious authorities.

He added that the actual number of affected businesses may be lower than quoted.

This is because in Kedah, bowling alleys and snooker centres are no longer classified as entertainment outlets, but as sports centres that will not be affected.

In the past spats between PAS and coalition partner DAP over pig rearing and alcohol bans – sensitive issues in Islam – have surfaced, threatening to derail Pakatan and its chances to unseat the BN, that has ruled the country for more than 50 years.

‘Unnecessary fire-fighting’

In an immediate reaction, political analyst and legal expert Abdul Aziz Bari chided PAS for its handling of the matter.

He pointed out that within a short period Kedah has had two to tackle two unnecessary fire fighting incidents: first the clampdown on student demonstrators at state college KUIN and now the Ramadhan ban against entertainment outlets.

“True they can argue on the technicalities such as the fact that the ban was just the putting into effect a provision from a law passed by the BN (and at the time with MCA and Gerakan’s support).

“However they missed the more important point; that Pakatan-led governments should be different from BN, particularly the top-bottom approach,” said the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) lecturer (left).

Abdul Aziz also doubted whether PAS had consulted its Pakatan partners on the matter, especially at the national level.

“What Kedah did may be good for the party in the state; especially their bid to stem Umno’s comeback.

“However, such moves may not be good for PAS – and Pakatan’s chances – in other states. It may also affect the party’s stature at the national level,” he said.

Abdul Aziz warned that as of now the Islamic party’s achievement on the issue of good governance, for example, has yet to match that of DAP.

He believe that such matters should have been given more attention prior to the hubbub that has played out in Kedah the past few days.

  1. #1 by dawsheng on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 7:03 pm

    I strongly support MB of Kedah. Entertainment outlets should close during Ramadan for the good of society. Alcohol is among the major killer of Malaysians each year.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 7:51 pm

    Discussions between DAP and PAS.
    PAS spoke to all entertainment outlets owners.
    Outcome the good and sensible news for Kedah.
    So fast…so right…so sincere…so thoughtful for non Muslims.
    That’s why PAS won Kedah .
    it is a part that cares for all Malaysians and do treat all as equals and with respect.
    Now recall how UMNO B treat BERSIH walkers.
    Recall how long Teoh Beng Hock’s death
    Recall the many twists and turns to fool Malaysians and many many more.
    Kedah folks are lucky people under PAS.

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 8:15 pm

    ///Alcohol is among the major killer of Malaysians each year./// So are cigarettes, Internet (porn) cars (accidents non alcohol-related) Genting casinos, swimming pools where people drown – are we to ban them? There are those who use these moderately/responsibly, and those who don’t. Alcohol is the lubricant of social conversation – and social and business interaction after work. The latter can’t be let to 1 hour lunch time during which one cannot drink and go back to work. After work do people gather to relax drinking Coffee (Caffeine) or Coke (corrosive of stomach lining) ??? Alcohol puts cheer in spirit, foster good fellows camadarie enables some men to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s weariness, heartaches, and sorrows. Escapism? Whats wrong with that if it’s a little while with no permanent bad effect? Many like Winston Churchill thought better after a peck!

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 8:24 pm

    Of course that’s highlighting the good points of alcohol by those who responsibly and moderately use and cold hold it. What about the other side of the coin? Drunken driving & lethal accidents, spouse or sex abuse from intoxication, liver exploding like grenade due to over-consumption? How do one aggregate the benefits and pleasure of alcohol bestows on drinkers society-wide weighed against the costs and harm of alcohol? How do we know that there are more who abuse alcohol than those who use it responsibly? The former get reported in the news but not the latter (people like you and I have a good time, go back and cause no harm to others). At the bottom line is freedom of an individual – to choose what’s moderate what’s abuse what’s good and what’s bad as against the other paternalistic approach don’t do this or that because its bad for you.

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 8:31 pm

    One can of course choose to live in “clinical” society where all perceived harm and vices are eliminated. That’s not heaven, it could be hell. The test of an individual – and every one is entitled to it – is to be given a choice to choose between what’s good and what’s bad with both available – it is not everyone is good because there are no vices available for temptation. Its freedom of choice and the responsibility to take the consequences good or bad from one’s choice. For the Religious, how would God know who’s good to qualify for admission to heaven when all are on earth are good – not because they choose good from bad but because bad is just not available as a choice because its banned???

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 8:36 pm

    The question is what balance should be struck between the need to protect society on the one hand from social vices and the need to preserve individual liberties on the other. Currently there are already restrictions on alcohol – eg one cannot drink over limit and drive; alcohol can only be sold in licensed shops; alcohol cannot be sold to underaged individuals; and there are restricted hours for places which sell and serve alcohol. Aren’t these sufficient? Above and above these Muslims have even more restrictions because its haram but not so Non Muslims who have free access to alcohol. Is it empirically proven that Non Muslims – on account of alcohol- are more susceptible to social problems ???

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 8:54 pm

    As humans we shouldn’t try to be angels. If Alcohol were to be banned we’d look for other intoxicants – sniffling RON 95! When US in 1930s imposed prohibition, a fraternity of criminals (bootleggers) flourished – (see the film ‘Untouchables’). Ask the stewardesses what happens when certain passengers from parts of India or Middle East where Alcohol is banned get on board? They go into a binge on flight and end up loud/high! When one represses “human weakness” too much you get Newton’s law of strong reaction the reverse! What about economic effect of this not-insignificant sector? Anchor & Guinness Breweries, distilleries, liquor stores, restaurants Karaoke and bars… All those businesses are completely done for (think of the tax revenues lost), what about their workers – and cosmopolitan expatriate crowd working here? Costs and benefits have to be balanced. Eg S’pore is one of most paternalistic clinical nanny state, yet it legalized Sands and Genting Casino in Marina Bay Sands. Obviously it weighs and take an abuolute position!

  8. #8 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 10:48 pm

    It is all sandiwara only. Every year they all play the same game.

    During this month there is always a spike in business activity in southern Thailand. Hotels in Hatyai and Songkla are always fully booked. This year will be the same. The red carpets will be rolled out.

    No big deal. They will all still have a monster ball of a time there during this month and more.

  9. #9 by rockdaboat on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 11:04 pm

    Bar close:

    MCA say PAS is one step towards islamic state.

    Bar open:

    MCA say Pakatan trying to show DAP can influence PAS, a ploy to win Chinese vote.

    So, whether bar close or open, MCA has something bad to say.

    CSL is either stupid or ignorant: Each time he opens his mouth, he only give away votes to Pakatan. Why not MCA concentrate on how to improve the position of Chinese in this country rather than wasting their time on such trivial issues. Of course, unless MCA is already bankrupt of ideas!

  10. #10 by raven77 on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 11:14 pm

    Why dont Kedah PAS focus on the economy….do they derive pleasure in seeing the state folk suffer…

    PAS is not cut out to lead……they just know what an economy is all about….

  11. #11 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 11:53 pm

    3 years ruling the state and the PAS-PKR state government still haven’t come out with a bold, major economic initiative to spur the economic development of the state.

    Are they just content to just flow along aimlessly and pray for miracles to happen? What is the state’s financial position? Do they have an economic plan at all?

  12. #12 by monsterball on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 12:52 am

    55 years ruling the country UMNO B haven’t stop stealing.
    Are they not robbers and thieves?
    Is our country getting richer or going bankrupt?
    Readers can judge who is telling the truth…sheriff singh or monsterball.

  13. #13 by monsterball on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 12:56 am

    One thing you can be sure..where sheriff sing goes…tak tahan..and monsterball will follow with Big Big standing by…to bite if sheriff singh rear needs it.
    Take note..not poke..Big Big bite bite and bite….woof woof woof!!

  14. #14 by dawsheng on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 1:22 am

    All PAS ask for is one holy month. I have no problem with that.

  15. #15 by Jeffrey on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 2:46 am

    Fair enough but I think what DAP/Karpal is fighting for – is the principle of why for example non Muslims (whether as consumers or owners workers of entertainment establishments serving alcohol) have to suffer or be deprived of a pre-existing right for even one day of a month which according to their tradition and religion is not especially holy. It is the worry in principle of ‘creeping islamisation’ – small inch by inch enroachment that overtime aggregate to major concession of something unnecessary) that has to be weighed against the benefits of Pakatan unity/risks of discord. Anyway Kedah’s dropping the ban (for Non Muslim) is a reasonable concession/compromise on PAS’s part of a position that it ought initially not have asserted against Non Muslims (and in my personal opinion) or everyone else as well for reasons that they ought to have the freedom of choice to elect between good and bad and not have virtue foisted top down by law on them.

  16. #16 by sheriff singh on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 8:49 am

    Ooooooo running dog for whom I wonder.

  17. #17 by monsterball on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 9:53 am

    Big Big is a real “talking “dog that can bite….if you try to keep insulting DAP….sheriff singh.
    His master…”tak tahan” speaks on his behalf.
    By the way…sheriff singh…how many Singhs call themselves “sheriff” in the world?
    I have monster mom…monster son…monster daughter…monster dad…in blogging.
    Do you have a Autar Singh as your brother?

  18. #18 by monsterball on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 9:56 am

    Don’t try to pretend you don’t know who we are chasing…you half drunk cracko.
    Early in the morning…you need a spanking?

  19. #19 by monsterball on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 10:35 am

    Just as I ask….out come Sheriff Woody…but he is not a Singh…thank God.
    My next dog…nice name…Sheriff

  20. #20 by monsterball on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 10:38 am

    Just as I ask….out come Sheriff Woody…but he is not a Singh…thank God.
    My next dog…nice name…Sheriff
    But I may change my mind..if sheriff singh stop insulting DAP.
    So far so good.

  21. #21 by dawsheng on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 12:15 pm

    ‘Creeping Islamization’ is a worldwide problems created by the Americans and Europeans, in itself with many hidden agendas. If there’s any in Malaysia then UMNO not PAS is the culprit, this is not a subject of debate. On one hand, we said we should emulate good Islamic principals, and when PAS try to lead the way, we give them a slap in the face. It will be a hard argument when next time people said gambling is a Chinese culture.

  22. #22 by dawsheng on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 12:59 pm

    If I may add, the leaders in Pakatan Rakyat just demonstrated hypocrisy of the highest order. What are you working for? Entertainment or wellbeing of the Rakyat?

  23. #23 by Jeffrey on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 2:04 pm

    I don’t think Entertainment or wellbeing of the Rakyat is necessarily an ‘either-or’ choice. However your take that “the leaders in Pakatan Rakyat just demonstrated hypocrisy of the highest order” is an interesting angle that perhaps you may want to bring up the thread “PAS: MCA, Gerakan approved nightspot ban in 1997” in which PAS instead called MCA and Gerakan hypocrites for criticising the Kedah ban on entertainment outlets.

  24. #24 by Loh on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 2:32 pm

    ///“True they can argue on the technicalities such as the fact that the ban was just the putting into effect a provision from a law passed by the BN (and at the time with MCA and Gerakan’s support).

    “However they missed the more important point; that Pakatan-led governments should be different from BN, particularly the top-bottom approach,” said the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) lecturer (left).///

    PAS should be congratulated for being able to reverse a decision which affects the rights of non-Muslims.

    The temporary enforcement of a policy which was supported by MCA and Gerakan brought about the opposition to its implementation by MCA and Gerakan shows that MCA and Gerakan might be able to oppose their adversaries but they are not able to oppose their friend, or rather their boss, UMNO. Thus the claim by MCA and Gerakan that they are able to guard the interests of non-Muslims against UMNO is proven wrong!

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