Wednesday, October 20

PSB perturbed by PAS’s call to ban alcohol sale

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KUCHING: Parti Besatu Sarawak (PSB) assures that it will not support any extremist ideology and urge all Sarawakians to reject attempts by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) to spread their religious radicalism and racism to the beloved multiracial and harmonious state of Sarawak.

PSB president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said the call by PAS to suspend the sale of alcohol and to immediately stop production of alcohol beverages has serious religious undertones.

He said the statement was tantamount to a process of Islamisation without due regard to the cultural and religious sensitivities of all non-Muslims.

He cautioned that the statement could trigger hostile and even violent consequences and disrupt peace in the nation.

“Using religion as an instrument for restriction, coercion or domination against believers of other religions is inimical to the concept of cultural and ethnic pluralism which is the foundation of our society.

“It is also antithetical to the principles of a parliamentary democracy that enshrines the freedom of religious and cultural practices,” he said in response to the statement issued by the PAS information chief, Kamaruzaman Mohamad on drunk-driving.

Wong said PSB agreed with Kamaruzaman’s concerns over drunk driving and the danger it pose to the people.

However, he said there are sufficient measures implemented in the law against drunk driving.

He believed if such measures were to be strictly enforced the issue of drunk driving can be prevented much like what is being widely and effectively carried out in countries such as Australia and Ireland.

“But we must bear in mind that the principle of just and fair accommodation amongst all races must be regarded as a basic tenet of government which will ensure that all communities has a sense of inclusiveness and do not feel offended. We must take care of the interests of all communities, not just one. We must understand the realities of the demands of a multiracial, multi religious and multicultural society like ours,” he said.

Wong said in Malaysia the right to religious beliefs and freedom of practices of all citizens are enshrined in our Constitution.

He noted that in a liberal society like Malaysia, the Rukunnegara also affirms and ensures each community is free to practise their customs and cultures consistent with national unity.

“Therefore, official policy should not dictate or encourage forced-assimilation.

“Instead, a policy of unity in diversity must be actively promoted through mutual respect and tolerance,” he said.