KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — PAS has shown its ignorance and lack of understanding on cultural diversity in Malaysia, Shah Alam councillor Muhammad Shakir Amir said today after a federal minister advised Muslims against joining in the upcoming Japanese Bon Odori festival in the Selangor capital next week.
The DAP man said Shah Alam had benefited from strong diplomatic relations with Japanese companies and questioned why the advice for Muslims came only after more than three decades of Bon Odori celerations in the country without issue.
"Bon Odori has been celebrated for more than 30 years in Malaysia. Throughout the years it has been commercialised and celebrated via commercial or community centres to cater to non-Japanese as well. In Malaysia we have many manga and anime fans as well through the Japanese influence.
"This is something a party like PAS don't understand. They only care about judging others and will never look at the bigger picture on nation building.
"We have a sizeable number of Japanese expatriates living here. We even have a Japanese school to cater to the Japanese community. It is only natural that they will celebrate their cultural celebration through their community clubs or associations,” Shakir said in a statement today.
Yesterday, national news agency Bernama reported Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Idris Ahmad advising Muslims not to participate in the Bon Odori Festival to be held at the Shah Alam Sports Complex in Selangor on July 16, claiming that it contains elements of other religions.
The PAS vice-president cited a study by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department that purportedly found religious elements in the Bon Odori Festival that reportedly received negative reactions on social media, especially among Muslims in the country.
Bon Odori simply means the "Bon dance", which is performed during Obon, the season observed by Japanese to honour the spirits of their ancestors.