Non-Malays can drink without Oktoberfest

(FMT) – Religious affairs minister Idris Ahmad’s call to ban Oktoberfest events in Malaysia does not mean the government is trying to obstruct non-Malays from consuming alcohol, said PAS women’s wing.

Its chief, Nuridah Salleh, said Oktoberfest was not appropriate here because it would be viewed as an open invitation to encourage drinking, which would pose a danger for all Malaysians.

“Everyone knows that it has been proven that drinking does not only endanger the lives of those consuming alcohol, but also their families and society.

“There are cases of drunk people being involved in domestic violence, and drunk drivers causing road accidents. These numbers are also increasing yearly,” she said in a statement published by PAS newsletter Harakahdaily.

In a parliamentary reply last week, Idris said the festival had the potential to disrupt social harmony and safety.

He said non-Muslims were not prohibited from consuming alcohol, but the Oktoberfest events could trigger social problems since they were held in a public setting and alcohol was consumed openly.

Nuridah said her wing felt that the sponsoring of such events was against the “eastern values” of the people, adding that it would also expose Malaysians to an “unhealthy” culture.

She said Oktoberfest was a festival that began in Germany in 1810 which now involved 16 to 18 days of beer promotions and drinking, with five million people taking part.

“It has no place in Malaysia. The holding of Oktoberfest events must be opposed at any cost and should not be allowed to take root in Malaysia,” she said.