KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) - A beer festival is not Malaysian culture and should not be made a part of it in any way, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said on Thursday (Oct 12).
He said the National Culture Policy drafted in 1971 had outlined, among other things, that the national culture must be based on the indigenous culture of the region, with Islam as an important component in the formulation of it.
"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, speaking at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) Cultural Diplomacy Lecture Series.
Mr Mohamed Nazri said the situation differs in Germany, for instance, as it was a beer-drinking country and a beer producer.
"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 said.
However, he explained that banning such a festival did not mean that drinking beer was totally disallowed in the country.
"They can drink in the pub, 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," he said.
"Just like four to five years ago we have 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," said Mr Mohamed Nazri.
His comments came in the wake of the cancellation of the Better Beer Festival, which has been held for five years in a row in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, this year.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) rejected the organiser's application to hold the event, which would have been Malaysia's largest craft beer festival.
The Better Beer Festival had been scheduled to take place from Oct 6-7 at the Publika Shopping Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, featuring 250 different craft beers from 43 breweries worldwide.
The DBKL announcement came a week after Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) central committee member Dr Riduan Mohd Nor spoke out against the event, calling it a "pesta maksiat" (vice party) and claiming that it would turn Kuala Lumpur into the "largest vice centre in Asia".