A letter to The Star.
I refer to the article “MCA: PAS Showing True Colours” (Star, 15 July). I fully agree with Datuk Chor that PAS-led Kedah government should not ban entertainment outlets from operating during Ramadan.
My concern, from reading the article, is that MCA’s rhetoric is centered on this being a “Chinese or non-Muslim” issue. For example, Datuk Chor asks: “why DAP (a predominantly Chinese based party) was not warding off PAS’ policies to protect the rights of Chinese who voted for them.” And Penang MCA Secretary Lau Chiek Tuan says: “…besides the ban infringing on non-Muslim rights…”
This is not just an issue which affects Chinese or non-Muslim rights, or the economic welfare of karaoke and snooker centre owners. It is an important issue that should concern all Malaysians, as it is an attack on the fundamental principal of separation between the church/mosque and state. Former Lord President Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas, in the case of Che Omar bin Che Soh v Public Prosecutor (1988), stated that “… the law in this country is… secular law.”
This may be an extremely sensitive issue, but perhaps it is time we deal with it as a matured nation, before it gets out of hand.
Without going into the legality of the issue, suffice to say I am of the view that the Kedah State government has no legal right to ban entertainment outlets from operating during Ramadan, and its administrative decision should be subject to judicial review.
Not only DAP — but UMNO, MIC, PKR and all other political parties and civil society groups should take up the cudgels and urge the Kedah State government to change its stance.
Even if the banning of entertainment outlets from operating during Ramadan is legal, I am of the view that it is an ineffective policy. Those of the Muslim faith minded to seek such entertainment, need only drive over to Penang or Golok.