PETALING JAYA: A member of Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) excise licensing board has told the federal territories PAS Youth to focus on more important issues after criticising the board’s decision to revoke a 2021 decision to ban the sale of liquor at grocers, convenience stores and Chinese medicine shops.
Pointing out that only non-Muslims are allowed to buy alcohol, Kasthuri Patto called on federal territories PAS Youth to live together in harmony and to learn to respect differences of cultures and beliefs.
“Be angry about abuses of power, corruption, discrimination (and) injustice, not the sale of alcohol and liquor,” Kasthuri said in a statement.
“The real enemy here is sheer ignorance, oblivion and shallowness – not alcohol and liquor.”
Under the ban, which took effect in November 2021, the sale of hard liquor or distilled spirits was barred at sundry shops, convenience stores and Chinese medicine halls. However, customers were still allowed to buy beer from these premises from 7am to 9pm.
The ban was lifted last week, with federal territories PAS Youth information chief Abdul Razak Ramli stating it was “regrettable and disappointing” as it would lead to more social problems.
Kasthuri said it seemed to her the PAS Youth chapter was “desperate” to stay relevant by focusing on such issues, and questioned their silence on matters such as homelessness and refugees in Kuala Lumpur.
She also questioned their stance on stateless children who had no access to food, education, and a safe comfortable home; single mothers and fathers struggling to make ends meet; child sexual and physical abuse; and gender-based violence.
“Abdul Razak must have his head in the sand to not see these pressing and glaring issues on livelihood, putting food on the table and protecting the most vulnerable – children, youth and women – instead of barking up issues just to score brownie points and to tick their ‘to do’ lists before the year ends,” she said.
“Non-Muslims decide for themselves if they want to consume alcohol, and sellers must be bound by their responsibility to adhere to existing laws and guidelines in place.
“In addition, liquor licences are a source of revenue to DBKL.”
She said the board’s meeting on Nov 23 after a year-long hiatus to consider and approve new licences or reject renewal of licences was attended by representatives from the police, the customs department and DBKL’s own agencies, including the health and environment departments.
All the applications had been individually vetted and given the “all clear” by the various agencies before being put to a vote by the board members.