KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 ― Islamist party PAS today insisted that an annual craft beer festival here should be called off, arguing that the consumption of alcohol is not an “Eastern culture”.
PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan stressed that the Better Beer Festival 2017 that was scheduled for early next month should be cancelled immediately, claiming that it would be a detrimental event.
“Furthermore, the consumption of alcohol is not an Eastern culture and is also prohibited in religion,” the Temerloh MP said in a statement today.
He did not elaborate however on how consuming alcohol was not an eastern culture, but went on to say that Islam had firm teachings about the consumption of alcohol and cited the Muslims’ revered Prophet Muhammad as saying that alcohol was the “mother of all evils”.
“It not only endangers someone’s life, but also threatens social safety by leading to various sexual crimes and other violence,” he claimed when commenting on the negative effects of drinking alcohol.
He alleged that 45 to 46 per cent of crimes in the UK resulted from alcohol consumption, but did not elaborate on where he had obtained the purported figures.
“Although this festival does not involve Muslims at all, it has no guarantees about the threat to safety that will arise due to the consumption of alcohol,” he said.
He claimed that the country was taking a backward move with the alleged promotion of alcohol through the festival, saying that the World Health Organisation’s 2010 report titled “Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol” indicated that alcohol had become a global threat.
“The question is, what do we want to show the external society? When there are many more unique parts of the country that can be highlighted that foreign countries can follow. Furthermore the majority of religions adhered to by the society in Malaysia also rejects the consumption of alcohol, so why should it be defended?” he asked.
Accusing the festival’s organisers of being insensitive to the local Muslims, Nasrudin said PAS hopes that the authorities would block the event from going on.
Nasrudin statement comes almost a week after his party colleague Dr Riduan Mohd Nor called for the craft beer festival to be cancelled, ostensibly over concerns that Kuala Lumpur would be known globally as Asia’s vice hub.
Nasrudin said his statement comes after remarks by politician Datuk Teng Chang Khim, who is an exco member in Selangor ― the state that shares borders with the capital city Kuala Lumpur.
When asked to comment on the issue as events linked to Oktoberfest have also been organised by the private sector in Selangor, Teng was on Monday quoted by local daily Oriental Daily as saying: “Our country is a democratic country, PAS can continue to voice out its objections, Oktoberfest can also carry on as usual.”
Malay Mail Online had previously contacted the Better Beer Festival’s organisers, but have yet to receive a response.
This year’s Better Beer Festival, which is its 6th edition, will be held from October 6 to October 7 in Publika. It is expected to showcase 250 different craft beers from 43 independent breweries across 12 countries and will also feature food and live music performances.
Both the festival’s website and official Facebook page states that it is a “non-Muslim” event and that it will be collaborating with ride-share company Uber for a “Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign where festival participants would get promo codes for their ride home.