Penang, S’wak okay with Oktoberfest

GEORGE TOWN: The Oktoberfest merriment will go on in Penang and Sarawak with the backing of the state governments.

Penang Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the annual event would be allowed to go ahead as long as the organiser adhered to the rules and regulations of the local council.

“We will process the application. As long as it complies with the law, we will approve it,” he said.

The annual event, organised by the Malaysian-German Society, will be held on Oct 13 and 14 at the society’s premises in Jalan Air Itam.

Now in its 45th year, the event is expected to be launched by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

In Kuching, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the state government has no issue with Oktoberfest because it is a cultural festival that boosts tourism. He said Oktoberfest was similar to the Gawai Dayak celebration which features plenty of food and drinks.

Abdul Karim added that he did not see why a German festival could not be celebrated in Sarawak, considering that Malaysian cultures were showcased in other places.

“Oktoberfest is a cultural festival and there will be lots of food served, and you know the Germans, it comes with beer.

“Over here in Sarawak, it has always been promoted as Oktoberfest and not a beer festival,” Abdul Karim told reporters after chairing a meeting on the Sarawak Regatta which will be from Nov 17 to 19.

On PAS objecting to the Oktoberfest at the 1 Utama Shopping Complex in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Abdul Karim said: “When some extremists claim that Oktoberfest is a beer festival, I don’t really agree.”

PAS had earlier opposed the Better Beer Festival which was originally planned for Oct 6 and 7 at Publika Shopping Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. The event was subsequently cancelled by Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

Abdul Karim said it was not an offence if drinking was involved when celebrating Oktoberfest, but he advised people to know their limit and not to get drunk.

He added that Oktoberfest was good for the state’s tourism industry because domestic and international tourists travel to Kuching and other towns in the state to get a taste of German culture.