Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has objected strongly to Malaysian Islamic Party’s (PAS) call for the government to suspend production and sale of alcohol.

“I do appreciate their concern for the safety of our people.

“However, after reading further into PAS’ suggestion of revoking all sales licences of alcohol beverages in convenience stores, I doubt the sincerity of their concern,” said Masing.

According to Masing, this infringed on the rights of the people of different beliefs and their right to trade on items that did not encroach on their religious tenets and beliefs. 

“PAS must not impose their religious prohibitions on alcohol to those of other religions who have no prohibitions on alcohol.  

“Nor should PAS disguise their motives by using other excuses,” he stressed.

“Malaysia is a multi-religious nation and it must be kept that way.”

On Tuesday, PAS called on the government to immediately suspend all productions, businesses, and sales of alcoholic beverages so that new measures can be taken to prevent drunk driving.

In making the call, its Information chief, Kamaruzaman Mohamad, said PAS viewed seriously the fatal accident cases involving drunk drivers that had become so rampant lately.

“The tragedy of drunk drivers should not be viewed lightly. The mistake was due to the weakness of existing law and enforcement as well as the selfishness and stubbornness of the drunkards,” he said.

Kamaruzaman added that during the suspension period, the government should also set up a Special Cabinet Committee involving several ministries to take immediate action to resolve the case.