Oktoberfest billboard declared illegal in M'sia as groups call for ban on beer fest

A billboard promoting Oktoberfest has been declared illegal by a mayor in Selangor, Malaysia, for being offensive to the community.

The move comes as some Muslim groups 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, reported The Malay Mail. 

The annual beer festival, that is scheduled for this weekend, was described as part of a culture of "evil and sin", reported Malaysia's Daily Express newspaper.

Shah Alam Mayor Datuk Mohd Jaafar Mohd Attan said the organisers for the event did not receive approval from the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) to put up the billboards.

Photo: Facebook

"The Mentri Besar will make the necessary announcement after his exco meeting as I had already briefed him on the matter.

"Everyone has been advised to be extra careful and sensitive as we are living in a multicultural and multi-ethnic society," the mayor told reporters at the Hari Raya Aidil Adha programme at the Wisma MBSA on Wednesday.

Pan-Islamic Party (PAS) Member of Parliament Nasrudin Hassan said that non-Muslims have the right to consume alcohol, but that it "should be done privately and neither promoted nor feted any further in this way". 

He also compared the event on Facebook to "mass-promoted adultery". 

Although his PAS colleague Khalid Samad said that as long as non-Muslims are involved the event should carry on, MP Nasrudin has called it a vice and has urged the government to curb the event.

Ignore calls for ban

MCA Religious Harmony Bureau deputy chairman Ng Chok Sin told The Star that calls to ban the Oktoberfest celebration should be ignored so long as the event was not excessively promoted.

He said the location chosen to hold the event was not an area with large concentrations of Muslims.

“To forbid Oktoberfest just because alcoholic drinks are prohibited to Muslims is inappropriate because the event is targeted at boosting Selangor’s tourism coffers by way of attracting more tourists, not to promote alcohol consumption,” Ng said in a statement.

Oktoberfest is held annually in Malaysia with the two biggest breweries GAB and Carlsberg holding several drinking parties in major towns nationwide.

Held since 1810, Oktoberfest is annually held in Munich, Germany while other major cities hold celebrations too. 

Sources: BBC, The Star