Malaysia – Teresa Kok, MP for Seputeh, chastised Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, calling him and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officials responsible for liquor sale licensing in Kuala Lumpur as inept.
Kok also questioned the absence of a guideline authorizing the sale of liquor in the capital city during her debate on Budget 2022 with the ministry, noting that business proprietors are kept out of the loop.
According to her, she wanted to remind the minister that, while he stated in his previous closing remarks that the government has authorised convenience stores and grocery stores to sell liquor, guidelines have yet to be issued. Thus, she’d want to know where that guideline is.
“When I look at it, minister, I’m not sure who wrote the guidelines and application procedures for the DBKL’s liquor license, since the presenting format is so poor.
“As for the liquor licensing board members, I believe they, too, are in the dark and are as ‘blurred’ as the minister. They are unaware of the law, are unfamiliar with the liquor sale industry, are unfamiliar with the procedures, and, worst of all, when the liquor sellers industry sends a letter to the minister, the minister does not read it. They also do not read when they are referred to the licensing board. They are unaware of the substance and are unable to comprehend.
“What they do is simply follow what the minister says and become pak turut,” she added, using the Malay term for “yes men.”
Kok was one of many federal MPs who recently requested the DBKL and Shahidan to overturn their decision to ban liquor sales in all convenience shops, grocery stores, and Chinese medicine halls.
Shahidan previously supported the ruling in the Dewan Rakyat, stating that the prohibition was necessary to ensure that alcohol was not made accessible in public places, to alleviate social problems, and to ensure that those under the age of 21, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, could not easily obtain alcoholic beverages.
Beer will still be permitted to be sold under the new restriction, but only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. and separately from other drinks.
Kok also reprimanded Shahidan in her address for his abrupt proclamation of a public holiday in the Federal Territories.
“As an elected representative in Kuala Lumpur, I believe that if the minister wishes to thank the football players who won the cup, he should do so. Even if [he] want to provide RM1 million each individual, he may do so; nonetheless, he should avoid abruptly declaring a public holiday for tomorrow.
“Not everyone is a fan of football. Not everyone needs such vacations. Consider that, as a result of this announcement, schools are unable to open and some students are scheduled to take exams; additionally, we have numerous businesses, such as banks and sectors in industries, that have been forced to cancel all production schedules and business appointments,” she added. Kok said that since KL is a capital city, the declaration of a public holiday should be done in conjunction with many stakeholders.