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Malaysia Islamists booze ban could fuel feud
KUALA LUMPUR |
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's Islamist party on Tuesday demanded full implementation of a rarely enforced alcohol ban for Muslims in the country's most developed state, a move that could reignite a feud in the country's opposition.
The opposition Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), which rules the state of Selangor along with two other parties, also called for the removal of an ethnic Chinese state leader who protested the recent seizures of beer from convenience stores in the state.
Selangor, home to Malaysia's only two breweries, Guinness Anchor Bhd and Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, was one of five states won by the Anwar Ibrahim-led Peoples Alliance in general elections last year.
The move again highlights weaknesses within the rainbow opposition grouping made up of PAS, the stridently secular and mainly ethnic Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP), and Anwar's own People's Justice Party (PKR).
"The initiatives are to free the Muslims of Selangor from the influence and culture of alcohol which is forbidden in Islam, and not to interfere in the rights of non-Muslims," said Hasan Ali, Selangor PAS chief.
Selangor is one of five states the opposition won in the 2008 general elections, the best performance for the Anwar-led alliance which remains on track as a contender to wrest power in the next polls that must be held by 2013.
PAS and DAP have occasionally traded barbs in public, among others over PAS' aims of imposing the alcohol ban in Selangor, which at one point would have banned the sale of alcohol in convenience stores in the state.
A vague and rarely enforced ban against alcohol for Muslims was enacted under State Islamic laws in 1995.
While PAS is the smallest party in the state government holding only eight out of 56 seats, a pullout from the alliance could lead to a collapse of the state government.
PAS imposes a ban on alcohol for Muslims in the state of Kelantan where it rules, limiting sales only to non-Muslims.
Recently a Muslim woman was sentenced to whipping after she was caught drinking beer.
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