Not up to Jakim to decide if non-Muslims consume alcoholic drinks: Liow

25 Sep 2017 / 20:08 H.

MCA PRESIDENT Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said it is not up to the Malay­sian Islamic Development Depart­ment (Jakim) to decide whether non-Muslims should consume alcoholic drinks or not.
Expressing his surprise over Jakim's involvement with the Immigration Department in blocking foreigners from entering the country for The Better Beer Festival, which is now banned in Kuala Lumpur, or gay party, he said it is akin to moral policing.
"For example, I am a vegetarian and I don't drink. But I respect other people's freedom of choice (whether or not they want to drink). It is my right (not to drink), but it is also others' right (to drink).
"As such it is our right to decide whether we want to drink or not; it is not up to the Immigration or Jakim to decide whether we (non-Muslims) can drink," Liow was quoted as saying by Sin Chew Daily in its report today.
Speaking to the media after opening the Selangor MCA convention in Kuala Lumpur today, Liow, who is also transport minister, said he did not agree with Immigration Department Director-General Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali's remark that foreigners be banned from coming to Malaysia for The Better Beer Festival as the fest and gay party are separate matters.
"I am surprised the Immigration's 'blacklist' (of foreigners to be denied entry) was said to have come from Jakim. Why is Jakim, which is in charge of Islamic affairs, overstepping its boundaries to moral-policing the people (non-Muslims), and lumped the two (beer fest and gay party) together?
"I can understand if the 'blacklist' is given by the police out of security concerns, but not if it comes from Jakim," he said.
He said he did not know who was on the "blacklist".
"If they advocate terrorism or are trouble-makers, we should ban them but if they come to drink beer, I think we should stand up for their rights and freedom as guaranteed under the Constitution."

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