PETALING JAYA, 13 Aug 2009: Members of the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) appear to have patched up over the beer sales dispute.
Additionally, the coalition’s national leadership has adopted the Selangor menteri besar’s decision to let convenience stores in Shah Alam self-regulate on the sale of the alcohol.
Ronnie Liu The two executive councillors at the center of the dispute, PAS’s Datuk Hassan Ali and DAP’s Ronnie Liu, shook hands and publicly announced today that they had resolved the matter. PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser, also declared the episode closed.
All three parties in the alliance have agreed that a ban on the sale of beer in Muslim-majority areas would be impractical in terms of deciding what constituted the majority, Liu who is the state local government, study and research committee chairperson said today.
By letting stores self-regulate, Liu said stores could opt to request a beer purchaser’s identity card if his or her race appeared doubtful; not display any cans of beer in the store but sell the beverage on request; prominently display signs prohibiting Muslims from buying beer; or not sell beer at all.
“There is no element of planning or forcing on the part of the state. We all agree that this experiment in self-regulation will be done and I believe it will work,” Liu said on the sidelines of a workshop for the PR leadership council on strengthening the coalition at the Tropicana Golf Club.
He said the state had informed convenience stores of the self-regulation move last week and the Shah Alam City Council (MPSA) would be the monitoring body.
(Pic by engindeniz / sxc.hu) A “misunderstanding”
Hassan had openly criticised Liu for intervening in a beer seizure by MPSA officers from 7-11 outlets in Shah Alam in July. Liu had said he was right in doing so, since the sale of beer did not require a license, unlike liquor.
Hassan, the state Islamic affairs and Malay customs, infrastructure and public facilities committee chairperson, had called for Liu‘s portfolio in the state executive council to be reviewed. Hassan claimed that state government officers were unhappy with Liu for meddling in efforts to stop the sale of beer to Muslims.
Liu today described the episode as a “misunderstanding”. “The law is clear: alcohol cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18, nor to any Muslim. And beer does not require a license to be sold,” he said.
The PR leadership workshop today also discussed moves to formalise the coalition. Anwar told reporters later that they would look at how to “overcome the technicalities and obstacles” that prevented PR from being registered as a political coalition.
Among others, one such obstacle was the Registrar of Societies’ requirement for at least seven component parties for a coalition to be registered. PR only has three.
“(PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul) Hadi (Awang), (DAP adviser Lim) Kit Siang and I are all committed to strengthening and formalising Pakatan through registration as a coalition,” Anwar said.
He added that this would disprove Barisan Nasional’s claims that the opposition alliance was fragile and about to collapse.
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