Oktoberfest began on 24th September at several locations including a hotel in Subang and Kuala Lumpur. The event, held annually since 2011 in Malaysia, is extension of and modeled after the global Oktoberfest celebration. The original Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October in Germany, which has been held annually since 1810.
In Malaysia, the highlight of the festival was to be held from Friday to Sunday (10th Oct – 12th Oct) at a 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. However, the Oktoberfest 2014 celebration has been dampened by strong objections from certain parties and authorities, as it was reported that PAS was upset over the event and has demanded that the Selangor state government to relocate or cancel the event.
According to Malaysian Insider, PAS Dewan Ulama voiced its strong objection against the Oktoberfest beer-drinking festival and has urged the local authorities in Selangor to take action against the organiser for openly promoting the event without a permit. PAS central committee member Nasrudin Hassan said the organiser was openly “challenging” the sensitivities of Muslims who are observing Hari Raya Aidiladha.
He also questioned the motive of the organiser in holding the festival openly, as it had previously been held as a closed event, and asked the organiser to apologise to Malaysians for promoting the beer-drinking event.
We respect other faiths. The others should respect Islam too especially when it is the official religion of the federation. Why not have the event in a closed setting in order not to disturb the sensitivities of Muslims?
In the past, Nasrudin tried to stop shows by foreign acts such as Adam Lambert and Avril Lavigne.
He also protested against the 2012 concert by Elton John in Malaysia.
And on that note, MCA central committee member Chew Kok Woh said PAS’ intolerance of Oktoberfest was due to its growing influence in Selangor:
Oktoberfest has been going on for a long time without any controversy. Why has it become an issue this year? This is a result of having PAS elected representatives in the state government.
He also spoke of how Temerloh MP Nasrudin Hassan, who was a former PAS Youth chief, was known for his “outrageous” views on concerts held by international artistes. “Non-Muslims have the right to enjoy Oktoberfest. Moderate Malaysians don’t want to see extremism practised here. Do we have to come to a point where non-Muslims have to hide when consuming alcohol?”, he asked.
Meanwhile, according to Star Online, Selangor Mentri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali said there was a possibility of not issuing a permit to the organisers if they did not adhere to the guidelines.
“We have not received approvals for the festival from the agencies concerned, so if the organisers comply with the guidelines, the police and Customs will give the approval,” Bernama quoted him as saying.
Several Oktoberfest 2014 promotional billboards have also been declared as illegal and taken down. In Shah Alam, for example, Mayor Datuk Mohd Jaafar Mohd Attan said promotional activities of the event including the putting up of the billboard did not received the approval from the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA).