The insufferably smug episode over the ban on beer sales at the Seremban International Golf Club (SIGC) reaches its farcical peak tomorrow.
Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun, as president of the state-owned club, is at the centre of the self-righteous move that has sparked outcry among many of the 1,500 members mostly civil servants, pensioners and private sector employees.
An extraordinary general meeting tomorrow will decide whether the ban on beer will be revoked. Disgruntled members contend it was unlawful for the committee to stop the sale of beer.
The ban on the sale of beer came into effect last August after Aminuddin took office. The sale of liquor such as whisky and brandy was stopped some 20 years ago as a licence was required while the government waived the need for a beer licence.
Aminuddin, a non-golfer, has threatened to quit as president if the club fails to prioritise local sensitivities. By “local sensitivities”, he reasoned that the 50-hectare golf course was surrounded by mosques and housing estates where majority of the residents are Muslims.
So, he holds that drinking liquor in the club is insensitive. Except that he hasn’t produced proof of complaints of sensitivity.
Clearly, his logic is mind-boggling, considering that the clubhouse is situated inside the 18-hole golf course. Will his next target be the Royal Sungei Ujong Club near his official residence and office?
Aminuddin this week waded into the SIGC liquor controversy with the following remarks: “I have raised this issue twice at the club meetings. If they want to sell (alcoholic drinks), carry on, I will quit as president. That’s all.
“Furthermore, I do not play golf. It is just that I was asked to be president. As the chairman of the state Islamic action committee, I cannot be there (in the club committee).”
Then, he denied having personally ordered a ban on the sale of alcohol, saying the decision was made collectively by the SIGC committee.
What was the committee supposed to understand when the boss raised the matter twice at meetings? It might not have been a direct order but what was his intention in bringing up the matter twice?
Wasn’t he indirectly telling the club to stop selling alcohol? Wasn’t he bringing religion into where it did not belong?
Hasn’t his committee, that now appears to have been cowed into making the decision, acted ultra vires the constitution?
Provisions in the club constitution allow it to buy, acquire, supply, sell and deal in all consumer goods, including golf and other sports equipment, liquor, food and refreshments as required by members.
Any attempt to ban or prevent the sale of liquor would therefore be unlawful.
It is unlikely that Aminuddin will be drummed out of the presidency. He cannot be removed because the club constitution had been amended to make the menteri besar the president with the power to appoint the secretary and the treasurer.
Since 1991, the menteri besar and the state secretary have automatically been elected as president and deputy president. The menteri besar also appoints the secretary, treasurer, club captain and five committee members. The members elect two vice-presidents and five others to the committee.
Those who were elected by members have been criticised for not having resigned when the committee failed to uphold the constitution by imposing the beer ban.
Politicians, like Aminuddin, should never be allowed to hold any post in sports. If he wants to resign as SIGC president, it would be no loss. Members would be glad to have power returned to them.
If you wonder why people like Aminuddin persist in forcing this diet of drivel upon us rather than trying something novel, the answer is clear — social integration is anathema to them.
If ever Negri Sembilan needed the smack of firm leadership in sports and politics, it is now.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13