Recently, there has been much uproar about the upcoming Oktoberfest-themed festivals, which we all know resulted in the cancellation of the planned “Better Beer Festival” in Kuala Lumpur. While there has been much debate from both Muslims and non-Muslims about the event, a Malaysian minister has come out and said that they welcome this festival.
Where is this place? This is none other than our sibling from across the sea, Sarawak. According to MMO, the Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has announced that he doesn’t see any problems with Oktoberfest 2017 being held in the state.
He said that he didn’t mind as Oktoberfest is actually a “food and culture festival” and not purely a drinking festival. Karim added, “It is a festival of cultures during which time there will be plenty of food being served, and you know the Germans, it comes with beer. So, I don’t agree with what some extremists say that Oktoberfest is a beer festival. It is not.”
He pointed out that Malaysians should be tolerant of other cultures as Oktoberfest was generally a celebration of the German culture as we also “showed our cultures in other places”. Compromise is the key! He compared the German festival to Sarawak’s very own Gawai Dayak celebration, which also showcased plenty of food and drinks.
In fact, FMT reported that when asked whether Muslims could celebrate the festival, he said, “Muslims can also celebrate Oktoberfest as a food and culture festival, just don’t consume alcohol. We must remember that Malaysia is a multi-religious and multiracial country. Muslims cannot force non-Muslims not to eat or drink food which they aren’t allowed to consume.”
“If Muslims in Sarawak are not tolerant and try to force their beliefs on non-Muslims, we would see Sarawak’s united society breaking up,” the minister said. Malaysia is a beautiful multicultural country and we should keep it that way!
Of course, he advises non-Muslims who choose to drink that they should always drink responsibly and know when to stop. Karim says that Oktoberfest is also a good opportunity to promote tourism in Sarawak and hopes to be able to get more international and domestic tourists to visit the state.
So if you are bummed out about the cancellation of the festival in Kuala Lumpur, you could always hop on over to visit our siblings in East Malaysia for the Oktoberfest!
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