Religious Affairs Minister in hot water over Oktoberfest remarks

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People say Oktoberfest does not disrupt social harmony.

Bernama

After his controversial remarks on Bon Odori, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad has again come under fire – this time for his comments on Oktoberfest.

Many people took to social media to deny his comments that the German-originated beer festival, which had been held locally many times previously, would disrupt social harmony.

“It’s been celebrated around the world for many years with no problems. Not allowing it will cause more resentment. Oktoberfest does not disrupt social harmony; it brings people together,” said Angela Usmar.

“As far as I remember, this kind of event has been going on for years. I haven’t seen any problem coming from it,” said Julian Mokhtar.Nurul Munira Moon Rohizan said for those celebrating Oktoberfest, they should just go and enjoy themselves.

“To those who are not, let them be. To those who are frowning…siapa suruh! Tak dijemput pun (you weren’t even invited). Life is easier if you tolerate each other!!”

Nyuk Foh Sim said for any festival in a multiracial religious society, let the people do what they were allowed and supposed to do.

“Those who are forbidden by religious and cultural myths may politely abstain,” he posted on Facebook.

“All these years Oktoberfest has been going on and no issue arose for the non-Malays,” said Sumitha Appukutty.

On Thursday, Idris said in a written reply in Parliament that the cultural festival had the potential to disrupt social harmony and safety.

He said non-Muslims were not forbidden from consuming alcohol, but Oktoberfest events could trigger social problems as alcohol was consumed openly in a festival setting.

Just recently, Idris was criticised after he told Muslims to stay away from the Bon Odori event in Selangor as he said it had “elements of other religions”.

This led to Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah ordering the state Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) not to prevent any individuals from attending the festival as it was a cultural showcase organised by the Japanese community in Malaysia.

While the annual Oktoberfest – touted as the world’s largest beer festival – is held officially in Germany, many countries hold their own versions.

The annual Malaysian-German Society Oktoberfest in Penang will return on Oct 21 and 22 this year.

It will feature a live band, dancing and games, with German food and beer served.

In the Klang Valley, breweries will have their own Oktoberfest promotions in individual bars. – The Star