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Media Statement by Teo Nie Ching in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 7th August 2009:

Beer ban - sensible public education/information programmes instead of religious-based bylaws

It has been reported that there are plans to hold statewide protests against the sale of beer in Muslim majority areas, and by extension, to force Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to sack EXCO member Ronnie Liu who's in charge of the local government portfolio.

It is however doubtful if PAS Selangor is behind the move as the PAS central leadership has distanced itself from such actions.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said there were no plans to hold any demonstrations. (The Star 6/8/09)

I urge PAS Selangor leaders who are in favour of unity talks with Umno to stop using the party's name to destabilise the state government while in pursuit of their goals.

PAS Selangor leaders who want a total ban on alcohol sale in certain areas are barking up the wrong tree because unless the Excise Act is amended, beer in bottles and cans to be freely sold and no licence is required.

There is no legal provision that says that 24-hour outlets cannot sell canned or bottled beer, even in a Malay majority area.

I will support changes to laws that will empower councils to enact socially-friendly bylaws to restrict the consumption of alcohol in some public areas that may cause public nuisance as long as every community benefits from them.

Our political friends and foes need to understand that while social drinking is largely acceptable, extreme cases of irresponsible drinking that leads to public nuisance and domestic violence need to be curbed and we can do that through sensible public education/information programmes and not through non religious-based bylaws.

* Teo Nie Ching, DAP Assistant National Publicity Secretary & MP for Serdang



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