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1:02pm 05/08/2022
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Ban Oktoberfest today, but what will PAS ban tomorrow?
By:Mariam Mokhtar

PAS would like to ban Oktoberfest today, so what will they ban next? Gawai? Chinese New Year? Christmas?

Why does PAS have to act like a dog in the manger? Just because members of PAS cannot consume alcohol, it does not mean that the party should ban the festival and stop others from enjoying it.

Their leaders appear to be selfish and act as if they are full of spite.

There is absolutely no reason to prevent non-Malays from having something for which no PAS member can take part in.

Muslims may not be allowed to drink alcohol, but that should not stop them from taking part in the festival, to enjoy the companionship and camaraderie of being with friends at Oktoberfest.

Malays don’t eat pork, but that is no reason to prevent them from visiting their Chinese friends’ open houses to celebrate Chinese New year.

Hindus do not eat beef, but they visit their Malay friends to celebrate Hari Raya with them!

Idris Ahmad, the minister in charge of religious affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the German festival Oktoberfest should not be open to the public, because it causes social unrest.

He said that alcohol is capable of affecting harmony, tranquillity, and public security.

Isn’t Idris rather naïve?

Words have the same effect of breaking the harmony, tranquillity and public security of a place.

When some people say derogatory remarks about another community or religion, all hell can break loose.

Irresponsible leaders have also the same effect of destroying the harmony, tranquillity and public security of the nation.

Look at the events in Sri Lanka last week. The people rose up against a cabinet of corrupt leaders including its president, because the authorities lacked political will to tackle graft for many decades.

When governments around the world failed to find a solution to control the price hikes in food, petrol and energy, public disorder erupted when the citizens were furious nothing was being done to help them in the cost of living crisis.

In all these examples, alcohol was not the prime reasons for public disorder.

Irresponsible leaders also have the same effect of destroying the harmony, tranquillity and public security of this nation. Not just alcohol.

Idris also added that alcohol caused domestic violence, traffic accidents, poverty, fights, health problems and poor work performance.

Once again we notice Idris’ limited exposure and lack of intellectual depth.

The perpetrators of many domestic violence cases were not under the influence of alcohol. The drivers of many fatal traffic accidents were not drunk but were under the influence of drugs.

Many victims of domestic violence were not beaten up or mentally abused by drunk husbands. The men were bullies and wanted absolute control.

One does not need alcohol to start a fight. Many health problems are a result of our overeating or consumption of sugars and fatty foods, but would Idris want to ban food?

There are many civil servants in the civil service who are incompetent. As the majority of civil servants are Malays and Muslims, their poor work performance is not caused by alcohol.

Before PAS starts to ban the cultural festivals of other nationalities, they ought to think hard about the consequences of their actions.

If they cite alcohol as the main reason for their proposal to ban Oktoberfest, will some of their ultra conservative members then propose the banning of Gawai because tuak is a feature of these celebrations? Will these members demand a ban because the rituals are not in line with Islam?

In 2017, after moves orchestrated by PAS, the Better Beer Festival (BBF) and Oktoberfest were cancelled because of political sensitivities and threats of terror.

PAS central committee member Riduan Mohd Nor criticised the BBF event which he described as a “pesta maksiat” (vice festival).

He claimed that Kuala Lumpur would become the “largest vice centre in Asia”.

A week after his criticism, BBF was cancelled.

PAS’ proposal to ban Oktoberfest because it promotes alcohol and goes against Islamic teachings is a smokescreen for the real reason.

A ban, if it were to happen, is all about control, power and manipulating the behaviours of the masses.

Another possible reason is that the proposal is a firm indication that GE15 is just round the corner.

PAS is merely pandering to their Muslim voters and flexing their muscles is just another charade that the ban is all about religion.

No, it is not!

As a nation, we must not give in to the threats from PAS.

Sources:

  1. Malaysiakini: Oktoberfest should not be allowed: minister
  2. Malaysiakini: ‘Beer festival cancelled due to political sensitivity’

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)

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Mariam Mokhtar
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