KUALA LUMPUR: A former member of the Malaysian Bar Council has denied assertions by certain lawyers behind a move to ban alcohol at the council’s functions that the presence of hard drinks is deterring non-drinkers from attending these events.
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan today said there were many people attending such events who did not take liquor. He also said the Bar did not pay for the hard drinks.
“Those who do not drink and do not have a problem with others drinking would attend,” he said, adding that alcohol was only served during certain occasions.
“There are various kinds of programmes such as forums, annual meetings, committee meetings, training sessions and so on where there is no alcohol served at all.
“So to give an impression that alcohol is the reason many people do not attend is not accurate and diverts from the reality,” he said in a statement.
Noting that many non-drinkers attended such events, he said: “That is up to them, and if they are not comfortable they would not attend.”
Syahredzan was responding to Muslim Lawyers Association president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar who expressed support for the move initiated by a fellow lawyer to seek a ban on the serving of alcohol at the council’s events.
Zainul was reported by FMT earlier today as saying that the availability of alcohol during the events made many Muslim lawyers, including himself, feel reluctant to attend.
He defended the move by Mohd Amir Sharil Bahari Md Noor to file a motion for debate at the council’s annual general meeting for the ban.
Amir was reported to have said yesterday that Bar members came from diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-religious backgrounds, and that alcohol consumption was prohibited by almost all religions.
The lawyer, who also practises shariah law, said removing the practice of serving alcohol would help make the Bar shariah-compliant. He also claimed that the serving of alcohol made Muslim lawyers uncomfortable about attending council events.
Amir claimed that the budget for organising an event increased by up to 40% when beer and liquor were served.
Syahredzan said while most Malaysian Bar programmes did not have alcohol, it was normal for it to be served during the annual dinner events.
He also said alcoholic drinks at these functions were not paid for by the Bar.
“At Malaysian Bar events at the national level where there are hard drinks served, these drinks are not funded directly through money contributed by the Bar.
“They come from sponsorships or payments by those who wish to have the hard drinks,” he said, adding that the hard drinks were not included in the ticket price of such events. -FMT