DAP has demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the non-Muslim ministers in his cabinet regarding the ban on 4D gambling shops in Kedah.
Its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said MCA, GPS and MIC ministers have to explain whether banning 4D gambling shops and alcohol sales to non-Muslims is the new policy under Keluarga Malaysia.
He said PAS should have consulted MCA, MIC and the Chinese community to appreciate the financial losses that could result from the sudden and hasty decision made.
“Or does both MCA and MIC support such a sudden and hasty policy decision by Kedah? Again the non-Muslims will feel that they are unfairly victimised by this latest decision that interferes their business practices and lifestyle, which have been undisturbed all this while,” he said in a statement today.
“Both Keluarga Malaysia, MCA, MIC and GPS ministers must take full responsibility for the extremist policies by PAS,” he said.
“Non-Muslims do not understand why they are singled out when they sell to non-Muslims, not Muslims, especially when Muslims are prohibited from patronising these outlets. Fines can be imposed on those who sell to Muslims, but to ban such activities will be seen as PAS’ attempt to forcibly impose its extremist values on non-Muslim contrary to diversity and a plural society,” he added.
Lim called Kedah’s decision a form of moral policing and denying non-Muslims their freedom of choice.
He said that by “bullying a minority”, Muhammad Sanusi felt that he can reap the maximum political benefit with minimal political cost, adding that targeting gambling outlets and alcohol sales is an advantageous political tactic to pivot attention away from the failings of the Kedah state government.
“Why interfere in the lifestyle and business practices which have remained undisturbed since Merdeka?” he asked.
Lim speculated that the hasty decision could have been made to help PAS candidates contesting in the Malacca elections.
Meanwhile, Penang deputy chief minister P Ramasamy said the latest clampdowns on gaming and liquor sales are moves to control non-Muslims and deprive them of their right to decide what is good or bad for them.
“Whoever said that Malaysia is a secular nation with a secular constitution where the rights of the non-Muslims are protected”
“Over the years there have been both subtle and overt forms of Islamisation. These are to deny non-Muslims the right to make decisions on a whole range of matters – there are more and more restrictions on the choice of non-Muslims,” said Ramasamy in a forthright statement this afternoon.
“It is for the non-Muslims to decide for themselves what is good and not good.
“There is no need for moral policing resulting in the denial of their rights whether to consume or not to consume alcohol. Or their right to make decisions about their involvement in gambling,” he added.
Malaysia’s non-Muslims have freedom of association with regard to religious practices and are not subject to moral policing, unlike their Muslim counterparts.
“The bold and insensitive move started with the recent ban on the sale of alcohol by the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) despite protests.
“Emboldened by the DBKL’s move against non-Muslim retail shops, the Kedah state government has now ordered all the local councils in the state to ban the 4D gaming outlets.
“Now if this decision is not Islamisation against the rights of non-Muslims, then what is it?” he asked.
“If the state wants to ban Muslims from frequenting the gaming centres, I have nothing to say but the state government or the local councils have no right to deny non-Muslims their right to frequent or not to frequent the gaming outlets.
“Why this bigotry against the non-Muslims? Are they not citizens who have paid their taxes?
“What wrong have they done to antagonise (Kedah Menteri Besar) Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor for him to take punitive measures to punish them?
“Don’t they have the right to make their own decisions whether to consume alcohol or to frequent 4D gaming outlets?
“Who is Sanusi to deny the rights of the non-Muslims?
“If, by and large, Muslims do not consume alcohol, what then is Sanusi’s problem?” asked Ramasamy.
The Kedah government’s move to ban all 4D shops has also come under fire from PKR vice-president Tian Chua who said the ban showed that the PAS-led state government had failed to acknowledge the cultural diversity of the country and added that it would create a further rift among the various races.
He said the state government was making a “popularist and religious appeal” to compensate for its inability to develop the state economically and provide welfare aid to uplift the lives of the people hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was why PAS needed to make such “low-level emotional appeal to get votes”, he added.
“Now it is in Kedah. It may become a nationwide policy if the Perikatan Nasional coalition adopts it,” he was quoted as saying.