KUALA LUMPUR: Having beer festivals has never been part of Malaysian culture and should not be made a part of it in any way, says Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz.
He said the National Culture Policy drafted in 1971 had outlined, among others, that the national culture must be based on the indigenous culture of the region, with Islam as an important component.
“Please understand, don’t think that we banned all this because we are an Islamic country. But it is not our culture, whether we are Malays, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban to have a big festival for beer,” he said when speaking at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relation (IDFR) cultural diplomacy lecture series.
Nazri said the situation was different in Germany or Bavaria.
“They can have Oktoberfest because they want to promote their beers. They are beer-drinking countries and producers, it is understandable. But here, we don’t produce beer.”
He added however that banning such festivals did not mean that drinking beer was totally disallowed in the country.
“People can drink in pubs, where you can control the crowd in case someone get excited and drunk, but to have a festival where you cannot control the crowd, there might be fights. Some people get drunk and they don’t know what they are saying.
“Just like four to five years ago, we had this rave party… Malaysians don’t know how to appreciate the public deejay, they went for drugs and eleven people died so that’s why we stopped this beer festival,” he said. — Bernama