We the Members of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur are deeply disappointed and angry with Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim’s decision to allow Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to ban liquor sales in sundry shops and Chinese medicine halls in Kuala Lumpur effective 1 November 2021.
We are of the opinion that such a sales ban which is carried out for the first time in the history of Kuala Lumpur is unreasonable and unjustifiable.
The ban of liquor sales in sundry shops and Chinese medicine halls reflects badly on the Malaysian government, exposing the government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as intolerant because it does not respect the rights of its non-Muslim citizens.
The FT Minister should not have approved DBKL’s new and additional guidelines. We have had a series of dialogues and engagements with the affected business associations and the Kuala Lumpur MPs since he came to office. We want a win-win solution but this kind of decision is unfair to non-Muslims.
Hard liquor is normally sold in shops or outfits run by non-Muslims for the consumption of non-Muslims. No Muslims are involved at all. In fact, there is an absolute ban in sale of liquor to Muslims as well as to those below 21 years of age.
DBKL’s decision and the FT Minister’s approval for such an arbitrary ban is an abomination and a direct assault on the business and consumers’ rights of non-Muslims.
Why target the non-Muslim community? Isn’t this a violation of the rights of non-Muslims as equal citizens as provided for by the Federal Constitution?
Such a blanket ban in Kuala Lumpur is a blatant affront on non-Muslims and it contravenes the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) propagated by the Prime Minister.
Kuala Lumpur is the metropolitan capital city of Malaysia. It is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious mega city. It is a city where foreign tourists and foreign investors reside and frequent, have good relations with multi-ethnic Malaysians. In fact, the government has worked hard to make Kuala Lumpur a “world class city” in the past years.
We wish to remind Shahidan that as FT Minister, he should know that sundry shops and Chinese medicine halls in Kuala Lumpur are small and medium business with low profit margins. The sales of liquor to non-Muslims in these shops is one of the main sources of revenue for them.
These law-abiding shops pay various licenses to DBKL and the Federal Government every year. The Associated Liquor Merchants Association of Malaysia (ALMA) estimated that such ban will hurt their business badly, including reducing RM50 million of the revenues of the sundry shops in Kuala Lumpur.
The DBKL and the Federal Government should instead assist these small businesses and not impose cruel restrictions on them, especially during these difficult times when everyone is badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia, we urge Shahidan to withdraw the liquor sales ban imposed on sundry shops and Chinese medicine halls in Kuala Lumpur.
Shahidan should be the Minister for all Malaysians regardless of race and religion. Religious tolerance is paramount, and we know that Islam preaches tolerance, fairness and justice for all.
Tan Kok Wai
MP FOR CHERAS
Fong Kui Lun
MP FOR BUKIT BINTANG
Teresa Kok Suh Sim
MP FOR SEPUTEH
Lim Lip Eng
MP FOR KEPONG
Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan
MP FOR SEGAMBUT
Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew
MP FOR WANGSA MAJU
Prabakaran A/L Parameswaran
MP FOR BATU