Anwar: Non-Muslims' right to drink, MB's right to resign golf club presidency


SEREMBAN: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says he agrees with the decision of Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun to step down as the president of a golf club here where beer was sold to non-Muslim members.

The PKR president said although he had no problems with non-Muslims consuming alcohol, the club members should respect Aminuddin's decision to resign after they overturned the club management's decision to stop selling beer on March 24.

"It is the right of non-Muslims if they wish to drink alcohol, but in Islam, you can be considered as abetting something prohibited in our faith if as, president, you allow the sale of beer.

"So all the MB said was that he would respect the right of non-Muslims to continue having it at the club, but members should also allow him to respect his religion which prohibits him from being complicit in something that is unIslamic," he said during a ceramah at Sendayan on Tuesday night (April 2).

Aminuddin resigned as president of the Seremban International Golf Club early last week saying that he could not helm a club that sold and served beer to its members and patrons when he was also the state's Islamic Affairs committee head.

He was made president last August as the club rules stipulate that the Mentri Besar is the automatic choice for the post.

The management then abruptly stopped the sale of beer, but this did not go down well with members who said the brew had been made available to non-Muslims since the club opened more than 60 years ago.

An EGM was then held on March 24 where the decision was overturned, prompting Aminuddin to resign.

The 18-hole course is owned by the state government, while the clubhouse and other facilities belong to the members.

Anwar said when he was elected Unesco president in Paris when in government, he did not allow wine to be served at a ceremony.

"And that was in Paris where sipping wine is the norm. I didn't allow it and yet I won the presidency," he said.

According to Anwar, during a visit to China back when he was Deputy Prime Minister, the Chinese government did not allow alcohol to be served at events he attended.

"I told them that they could serve alcohol at other tables and yet they did not.

"That was the kind of respect the Chinese government had for me as they knew I was a Muslim," he said.

Anwar hoped non-Malays would not misunderstand Aminuddin.

"Some people have told me that they are worried as the MB is too strict.

"He is just doing what he should, and it is my hope that non-Muslims will understand that while he can't stop them from drinking, he cannot be sort of an accomplice in allowing it," he added.

Related stories:

SIGC reverses decision on banning alcohol with immediate effect

Negri MB to resign as SIGC president after club reverses decision to ban alcohol

MB to quit as club president after beer ban fails