GEORGE TOWN: Penang mufti Wan Salim Mohd Noor has called for improvements in the laws relating to the sale and promotion of alcohol in the state, saying the sensitivities of all cultures must be considered.
Responding to an objection raised by Permatang Pauh MP Fawwaz Md Jan against the sale of beer at the concourse area of a mall in Perai ahead of Chinese New Year, he said he agreed that alcohol should not be sold openly.
“In my opinion, laws related to the sale and consumption of alcohol should be updated and improved so that they are clearer about what is allowed and what is not,” he told FMT.
“This is to ensure the sensitivities of the Muslim community are considered and to maintain harmonious relations among the races in this country.
“It is better not to have promotions of alcohol openly to the general public. It is sufficient to make it at a designated area just for non-Muslims.”
Wan Salim also called on Muslims to be more tolerant towards other cultures.
“Muslims should also be more inclusive and tolerant towards the cultures of others who are part of a democratic country,” he said. “The situation is different in the Middle East, where Muslims are a big majority.
“Muslims in Malaysia must embrace the concept of muwatanah, the sharing of land and co-existence.
“Islamic teachings are flexible and allow for adaptation to changes in time, place and environment. A rigid understanding of religion not only contradicts the spirit of Islam itself, but also prevents the light of Islam from reaching the hearts and minds of people.”
Fawwaz had claimed in a TikTok post that Muslim patrons at the mall were upset that alcohol was being sold openly.
His complaint against the mall has stirred a debate among Malaysians.
Penang assemblyman Daniel Gooi, for instance, said Fawwaz had gone beyond his scope of work as an MP to become a moral policeman and that his action was an affront to the harmony enjoyed by the state’s diverse population.