Brunei’s religious affairs minister has poured cold water on a plan to set up an “alcohol zone” for tourists in this Muslim country saying it would invite God’s wrath.
Brunei’s laws ban the public sale and consumption of alcohol in this small sultanate on Borneo island, though non-Muslim visitors are allowed to bring in limited amounts for private consumption.
On Monday, Religious Affairs Minister Zain Serudin rejected lawmaker Goh King Chin’s proposal to establish a special area for foreign tourists to buy and drink alcohol.
“What we are most afraid of is the wrath of Allah,” Zain said. “The wrath of Allah will not only come for the doer but others as well.”
Tourists who want to drink “can do it more freely in their own countries — not only can they drink it, they can even take a bath in it,” Zain told the Parliament.
Goh, a member of Brunei’s Parliament, sparked debate last week when he suggested authorities could promote tourism by establishing a special “alcohol zone” for non-Muslim foreign visitors.
Such a move would also mar Brunei’s reputation as a devout religious nation, the minister added.
“Today they want this zone, later they may want clubs, then what else? Prostitution zone? Then casino zone,” he said. “This is why we need to fight to maintain Brunei as a peaceful country called the ‘Abode of Peace.'”