Relocate or cancel Oktoberfest celebration, PAS tells S'gor govt

Relocate or cancel Oktoberfest celebration, PAS tells S'gor govt

PETALING JAYA - A controversy is brewing over a planned event to celebrate the German beer festival Oktoberfest this weekend at a shopping mall here.

PAS is upset over the event and has demanded that the Selangor government relocate or cancel the event. Its information chief Zaidy Abdul Talib said the event was disrespectful of the religious and cultural sensitivities of Muslims.

Selangor PAS, in a statement issued by Zaidy, who is Selangor exco member for the Infrastructure, Public Amenities and Agriculture portfolio, said Islam did not object to non-Muslims consuming alcohol.

"But events organised on a big scale and advertised openly on billboards and at supermarkets clearly go against societal norms, including those of all religions," he said.

Held since 1810, the Oktoberfest is claimed to be the world's largest festival and is held annually in Munich, Germany. Other cities also hold Oktoberfest celebrations.

MCA Religious Harmony Bureau deputy chairman Ng Chok Sin said calls to ban the Oktoberfest celebration here should be ignored so long as the event was not excessively promoted.

He said the location chosen to hold the event was not an area with large concentrations of Muslims.

"To forbid Oktoberfest just because alcoholic drinks are prohibited to Muslims is inappropriate because the event is targeted at boosting Selangor's tourism coffers by way of attracting more tourists, not to promote alcohol consumption," Ng said in a statement.

PAS central committee member and Temerloh MP Nasrudin Hassan slammed the festival on his Facebook page on Monday, calling it a vice that federal and state governments should curb.

Nasrudin, who is the former PAS Youth chief, has in the past protested against concerts in Malaysia by foreign entertainers.

Fellow PAS central committee member and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, however, defended the right of non-Muslims to consume alcohol and questioned whether rumours that billboards had been put up in Shah Alam to promote the festival were really true.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Selangor Umno chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar was disappointed with the Shah Alam city council for approving billboards advertising alcohol-related events such as the Oktoberfest.

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