KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 ― Muslims in Selangor are demanding that Mentri Besar Azmin Ali cancel the Oktoberfest beer festival in the state for being offensive and insulting to the community, local Malay dailies reported today.
Targeting one such event at the One Utama shopping centre in Petaling Jaya, one Muslim group said approval for a billboard publicising the festival appeared consent to invite Muslims in the area to join the beer festival.
The billboard in question at Jalan Subang in Section U2, which was approved by the Shah Alam Municipal Council (MBSA).
“What is upsetting and can be assumed rude is that the beer festival is being organised in the month of Zulhijah, in which Muslims observe the Hajj and Qurban.
“We do not have a problem with the programme (Oktoberfest) but it should be done by observing the culture and sensitivities of the Muslim-majority,” Kosmo quoted the president of Ikatan Kebajikan dan Dakwah Selangor, Rosdi Long, as saying.
Rosdi was also reported saying that the commitment of the new Selangor administration to defend the sanctity of Islam, is also under test with the organising of Oktoberfest.
The tabloid and Utusan Malaysia also quoted Selangor Umno chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar as urging Azmin to remove the billboard immediately.
“When Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power, the state government never allowed alcohol advertisements to be put up freely.
“Is the Selangor government now doing otherwise by permitting and encouraging such advertisements to be publicised on billboards belonging to local authorities?” Noh was quoted as saying..
Berita Harian quoted Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) law professor Datin Noor Aziah Mohd Awal as saying that the celebration violates the Federal Constitution.
According to Noor Aziah, alcohol festivals cannot be organised in open spaces and such events are only confined to licensed alcohol selling outlets.
“The organiser has to seek for a permit as stipulated under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, if they want to proceed with the event in an open area.
“However, in this case permits would not be issued at it (Oktoberfest) violates the Federal Constitution,” she was quoted saying by the daily.
Muslim groups including controversial Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) have taken aim at Oktoberfest this month, claiming the event will tarnish Malaysia’s image as an “Islamic country” and “bring ruin” to the nation.
Although the event is promoted to non-Muslims, several Muslim groups have urged their supporters to rally against the event and venues that serve alcohol as part of the festival.
Oktoberfest is held annually in Malaysia with the two biggest breweries GAB and Carlsberg holding several drinking parties in major towns nationwide.
Oktoberfest was originally celebrated in Munich, Germany to accompany horse races, but has grown into “the world’s largest funfair”, attracting millions of visitors every year.