PETALING JAYA: A member of the G25 group of prominent Malays today questioned PAS’ assurances that the enforcement of Islamic laws would not affect non-Muslims, following the party’s objection to the Better Beer Festival 2017.
Johan Ariffin, who is the former deputy director of the Sabah Foundation, pointed out that when promoting PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to strengthen the shariah courts, the party leaders had told the public that the legislation would only affect Muslims.
“PAS and other Islamist leaders have assured the public time and time again that non-Muslims will not be affected by hudud or fatwas.
“They assured those concerned that it will only apply to Muslims.
“But this kind of overreach will definitely affect our image as a moderate Muslim nation, and will drive away tourists and investors to our country,” he said to FMT.
The Better Beer Festival 2017 was initially slated to be held on Oct 6 and 7 at the Publika Shopping Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.
PAS had labelled the event as a “vice festival” and warned that Kuala Lumpur could become known as Asia’s vice centre if such programmes were allowed to continue.
PAS central committee member Riduan Mohd Nor had also claimed that the festival would incite anger among Muslims in the country.
However, Johan said PAS and other Islamic leaders should look at Indonesia, which has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world but maintains a high level of tolerance when it comes to accommodating the lifestyle of non-Muslims.
“Even their president, who is a Muslim, has set the standards of tolerance and goodwill among the different religions.
“In places like Bali, for example, you can see how Muslims co-exist with non-Muslim residents and tourists, as brothers from different countries and religions.
“They tolerate the drinking of Indonesia’s famous beer, Bintang, and other alcoholic drinks.”
Johan said this was why Bali had continued to prosper throughout the years, despite violence by Islamist terrorists there.
“It’s because of their tolerance and brotherhood with all mankind, irrespective of their religion or which country they come from.
“And, as a result, their tourism receipts have brought them a better life, which is shared right down to the small communities and villages.”
The Better Beer Festival had previously been held for five years in a row.
On Monday, however, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) said it had received the organisers’ application to host the event on Aug 28 but had decided to reject it.
Earlier today, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement that the event was cancelled due to security reasons.
“We have information that militants are planning to sabotage the festival. To avoid any untoward incident, police have to be proactive by objecting to the festival,” he said.