Tuesday, August 25, 2009
All Failed Shamefully
It has been months since he tried to get his writings published in mainstream media and whatnot, much to his dismay. Even if his writing was to be published, it'd be stupidly edited and sounded different comparatively. Being rejected is one thing, and unheard is another. But both could do enough to break your heart into pieces, especially when you know you have something worthwhile to be heard.


I'll tell him about this guy later. He has a name. But for now, let's just call him Ku Ali.


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I deliberately delayed my writing of this article as a test of character for our politicians, especially Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, the Chief Minister of my home state. We feel, the period of about 10 days since his decision concerning alcohol sales in Selangor is quite sufficient to expose their true colours. Unfortunately, most of them, let it be from PKR, DAP, MCA, MIC, PAS or UMNO, had a most mediocre performance in this test. In this article, we Malaysians will analyze the blunders of some of these so called leaders, with regards to the alcohol crisis in Selangor. We hope, these politicians, and others, will take heed, and try to improve themselves. We definitely deserve better.


The decision by Selangor Chief Minister to continue allowing the sale of alcohols in Muslim majority areas in the state was not unexpected. It is, in every sense, a political decision, one that aims to appease certain groups in our society, while totally disregarding the welfare of the people. I will explain this further in the article.

That decision was unimpressive, uninspired, weak, populist, yet totally not addressing the real problem. All the brouhaha about not following procedures; beer definition according to the law etc. is really annoying when the core problem is sidelined. And what is the core problem? The answer is – The detrimental effects of alcohol consumption in our society, be it in Selangor or the nation.

Real leaders address problems. Ideally, decisions should be popular and beneficial to the public. Sometimes, a decision is unpopular, but in actual sense is good for the people. This is the course of action that will be taken by true leaders. At other times a decision is detrimental, but is popular. This is the course of action that will be taken by true politicians, so as to ensure they’ll get voted again next election, whatever the cost to us. Another type of decision is quite literally senseless, as it is neither beneficial nor popular. This was the course of action taken by the Selangor Government. Disappointing.

I quote Ronnie Liu, “But I told them that something like this (alcohol seizures) was unacceptable in a multi-racial society.” Now, Mr. Liu, stop lying to us. Some of us had been abroad, and some of us know that it had been enforced in a multi-racial, non-Islamic society. Take Canada for example. Early last century it did enforce a total ban on alcohol. That prohibition was later modified, making the sale of alcohol possible, but with very strict conditions. Ontario is one of the states that actively enforces these restrictions. In some areas, despite the modification of the ban to allow designated shops to sell alcohol, the local government and society banded together to continue the blanket ban in their area. They did this because they understand the harms of alcohol consumption far exceed its benefits.

To know more about this, read up Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), Temperance Movement, and alcohol prohibition in the west. I am not going to elaborate further on the Canadian system, as I am not paid by the Selangor Government to research for them. Instead, elected persons like Ronnie Liu, who are paid by tax payers’ monies, should do the research, and come up with a better solution than Canada’s. That is, if it is true that Pakatan Rakyat is the “Harapan Baru Untuk Malaysia”.

I quote Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim,”Our aim is not to infringe on the cultural rights and beliefs of the non-Muslims.” Your aim is supposed to be improving the quality of life for us in Selangor. Alcohol consumption definitely does not contribute to an improved lifestyle. Maybe certain expensive red or white wine is beneficial once a day for health, but not the stuff you find lying around in convenience stores. How many lives need be lost on the road due to drunk drivers? How many families need be broken because of abusive, alcoholic members? How many futures need we destroy through chronic drinking? How many delinquents shall we produce before it is clear that alcohol consumption is detrimental? There is money in the alcohol business, but at what cost? Answer us, Selangor Government!

The Selangor Government encourages stores to “self regulate” the sale of alcohols. Now, this is what we call wishful thinking yet totally detached from reality. As part of my research for this article, I went to a few stores to see how easy it is to buy alcohol in Selangor. And as expected, it is quite easy. None of the cashiers asked for identification. Maybe they thought I was Chindian (Chinese plus Indian), and thus could drink. But what if I was underage? Who cares, right? Grow some facial hairs and we’re definitely of drinking age. These are businesses, Tan Sri Khalid. When there is demand, and a chance for profit, it will be satisfied. We thought you would have known this, Tan Sri Khalid. If there isn’t a clear and strict rule concerning alcohol sales, irresponsible consumption will definitely continue.

Mr. Ronnie Liu and those from DAP, what is “Malaysian Malaysia”? Isn’t it a Malaysia that is supposed to be governed detached from racial and religious nuances? From this crisis, we can safely deduce that your leaders do not fully comprehend your party’s ideals. If you did, you wouldn’t have viewed this crisis from a racial perspective, but rather from a health, social and developmental point of view. Now, did you do this? No. And as such, I’d like to suggest DAP either to change their leaders, since clearly they don’t understand the “Malaysian Malaysia” concept, when we the public can understand it well; or sacrifice your core principles, since clearly your leaders are struggling to live up to it.

By the way, Tan Sri Khalid, a gag order? My, my… Do you understand the meaning of “freedom of speech and press”? Wasn’t this one of the core values of Pakatan Rakyat? Thank God Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim did not continue with the plan to impose a gag order in PR during that meeting between the component parties. If it had happened, PR would be greatly humiliated. But for us the fact remains, that option was considered.

We would also like to express our disappointments at MCA and MIC, for failing to be mature, by viewing this crisis only along racial lines, and not recognizing the real problem of alcohol consumption as we had outlined earlier. MIC National Youth Deputy Coordinator, S. Murugesan said, “PAS practiced extremism.” What is “extremism”, Mr. Murugesan? People in Canada do not view restriction on alcohol consumption as “extremism”. “We are ruled by law and not sentiments based on race or religion,” said Datuk Ti Lian Ker, MCA Non-governmental Organization Liaison Bureau Chairman and Central Committee Member. Another shortsighted statement that viewed the problem solely from a racial angle. We should rule based on what is best for the people, and clearly convenient access to alcohol is not good for us. Shame on MCA and MIC for trying to pit Muslims against non-Muslims. Shame on us for letting these kind of characters to represent us.

We understand that we do not have much effective laws curbing alcohol consumption in our country. The minimal laws that we do have, according to Ronnie Liu, is inherited from the British. Not all laws inherited from them are good. We believe PR will not argue with us on this. The next mature course of action, concerning our alcohol dilemma, is to formulate better rulings, replacing the old, ineffective and to a certain extant dangerous laws that the British left us. That is, if the people ruling us really want the best for us.

We’d like to say well done to Datuk Hassan Ali for championing the ban on alcohol sales. However, you too are guilty of viewing this issue only from a religious and racial angle. PAS must change their perspective if you truly aspire to lead the nation one day. You must not only fight for Muslims, but also the welfare of the non-Muslims. You had a chance to prove that you care about all Malaysians, regardless of religion, but you wasted that opportunity by focusing too much on Islamic views, while totally missing out on improved lifestyle for everyone.

By the way, Ahmad Shabery Cheek, UMNO Supreme Council Member, had said that PAS’s insistence for an alcohol ban is merely a show. You will wane and quietly accept this decision by Selangor Chief Minister. Please prove him wrong. PAS cannot continue using the name “Parti Islam Se-Malaysia” if you accept this decision. So far, since the ruling had passed, you had been very quiet. Why? Are you changing your name?

Now, we come to UMNO. Don’t think for a second that you can politicize this issue to your advantage. It disgust us to no end to see some of your leaders, like Khairy Jamaluddin and Ahmad Shabery Cheek, among others, using this crisis to discredit PAS. You should be working together to curb alcohol consumption in our country. During your rule in Selangor, and in the states you control now, rules concerning alcohol are also ineffective and does not deal with social ills related to the beverage. So don’t gloat!

Finally, I announce the sources I used in this article: The Star, Utusan Malaysia, Harakah Newspapers and Malaysiakini website. I tried to get some information from Ronnie Liu’s blog, “Colour Blind”. However, that avenue was rather unsuccessful, since despite the name, it is quite evident that he is quite colour conscious. The articles in that blog that is relevant to our article were written in Chinese characters, effectively preventing many Malaysians from understanding it.

Thus, I place the validity of the facts highlighted in this article on the Government and Opposition controlled media I had announced. If any facts are found to be flawed, it is a testament to the kind of journalism that they practice.

I hope this article will be read by all those mentioned in the text, involved in the crisis, responsible for the public, and all us Malaysians who will determine our next Government. I hope it will inspire many of us to improve our society, ensuring a dignified future for our descendants.

Ku Ali

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Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

 
posted by Izham Ismail at 8:14 pm | Permalink |


11 Comments:


  • At 25 August, 2009 21:34, Anonymous Belang A

    Tapi, tapi.. arak best. Boleh dapat awek mabuk sedap-sedap..

     
  • At 26 August, 2009 00:18, Blogger njahmat

    Hm, I do not for a second doubt that these are indeed words professed by Ku Ali. Good job, Ku Ali. Kind of Izham to publish your article on his blog, huh? Hahahaha.

    Anyhow, your arguments are well meted out. I have no buts to offer, especially regarding the political playground this beer issue has been for the aforementioned politicians.

    However, sometimes it all boils down to choice, right and responsibility.

    Not all abusive husbands and fathers are alcoholics. Most times, yes, but the root cause is probably a relation of power. These men think they have power of the women, the children, and their judgments are further impaired by the alcohol coursing through their bodies.

    You read cases in newspapers, and news of fathers raping kids, uncles harassing their nieces, and they do not necessarily point to a space and time where the a-holes (excuse my french) are drunk.

    Taking Canada as an example of a non-Islamic state that has imposed a restriction on alcohol is a good way to open the eyes of our rulers, and us, ourselves. But in a fast-moving world that approaches no borders and in a multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic country like Malaysia, I am sure the rakyat would prefer to have an equal say.

    I am not one to halalkan apa yang haram, but we have to be sensitive that it may be a part of someone else's culture and upbringing. I have an Indian friend whose dad taught her to drink Jolly Shandy since she was 10. They drink at home, in a controlled environment, and I know for sure she isn't one to run wild and drink till she drops although she is currently furthering her studies in Australia.

    Of course, in a perfect world, an embargo on beers would be great because then we wouldn't hear of "drink, drive and die" cases. And perhaps, just perhaps, we may have a decreased rate of rape cases (but I highly doubt that).

    Drugs are the country's number one enemy, but they are still making infamous rounds in Malaysia, aren't they? When there's a will, there's a way for all these crooks and those making a profit out of this. It isn't impossible that beer-trafficking would arise next.

    I think banning beers may not be the most effective solution. Rather, why not start with good grounding about our choices, rights and the responsibilities that come with it? You choose to do something, be it drink beer or whatnot, you bear the consequences.

    p/s: Oops, when I say you/your, I mean Ku Ali. Hahahaha.

     
  • At 26 August, 2009 00:28, Blogger njahmat

    *power OVER the women. . .

     
  • At 26 August, 2009 06:28, Blogger majin

    awesomess

     
  • At 26 August, 2009 06:58, Anonymous a

    karim kafelnikov and now ku ali? hmm..

     
  • At 26 August, 2009 16:34, Blogger rj.zyra

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 26 August, 2009 16:35, Blogger rj.zyra

    'One Malaysia' much?
    We've got a looooott of fixing to be done.

    You are going to make it big someday. You know?

    Eh not you.
    Ku Ali.

    " Ha ha "

     
  • At 27 August, 2009 20:11, Anonymous Anonymous

    agreed.

     
  • At 02 September, 2009 17:45, Blogger M.M.

    ..when religion is made the currency in the business of politics, all hell breaks loose

     
  • At 11 September, 2009 21:06, Anonymous Anonymous

    Not all abusive husbands and fathers are alcoholics. Most times, yes, but the root cause is probably a relation of power. "These men think they have power of the women, the children, and their judgments are further impaired by the alcohol coursing through their bodies.

    You read cases in newspapers, and news of fathers raping kids, uncles harassing their nieces, and they do not necessarily point to a space and time where the a-holes (excuse my french) are drunk."

    Njahmat, why so sexist? One only needs to view Oprah once in a while to know that alcohol abuse is not the sole domain of males. This isn't about gender.

     
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