KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang criticised the government for not prohibiting Oktoberfest celebrations this year, saying the Bavarian festival was against Muslim culture.
While claiming non-Muslims are free to celebrate any events that are not against their religious principles, he said such events must be reconciled with Muslim sensitivities and respect of Islam.
“We acknowledge that Malaysia is a multi-racial country so non-Muslims are free to celebrate what they want, but at the same time, any actions that can cause ‘harm’ must be prohibited.
“We should respect the sensitivity of each other’s religion to maintain the harmony in the country,” he was quoted as saying in Kuala Terengganu yesterday by PAS organ Harakah.
The Marang MP said the event, which he claimed caused public anxiety, is also seen as an attempt to “invite” Muslims to participate in activities that are frowned upon in Islam.
Such dog-whistling politics is typical of the party that couches its religious conservatism in the guise of wanting to preserve “multicultural” harmony.
Previous iterations of Oktoberfest were banned following complaints by PAS, coinciding with Umno’s overtures for cooperation with the Islamist party.
The new Pakatan Harapan government has removed such restrictions, with authorities now saying such events may proceed so long as they are not ostentatious and remained clearly prohibited to Muslims.
One such Oktoberfest celebration was opened in the MidValley area here on Thursday after meeting guidelines set by City Hall.
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad previously said such festivals may take place as long as the organiser abides by set guidelines such as holding the event indoors and securing the relevant local authorities’ approval.
Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali explained yesterday that Oktoberfest was not a “beer festival” per se, but a worldwide celebration of the German folk festival that is held annually in late September to the first weekend of October.