PAS should stop ruining the nation by denying diversity

The recent statement by Religious Affairs Minister Idris Ahmad on advising Muslims not to participate in Bon Odori celebration shows the lack of understanding and ignorance on cultural diversity in Malaysia by the PAS leader.

Religious Affairs Minister Idris Ahmad (pictured) believes that Muslims should abstain from attending Bon Odori, an annual festival organized by the Japanese community in Malaysia.

This is why a party like PAS shouldn’t be given the chance to administer the country again. They will ruin the social fabric of the country and ban every cultural celebration as they please while judging others.

What they are doing now is just the beginning.

It has been 40 years since the Look East Policy been introduced. Our relationship with Japan has always been positive and has brought us tremendous economic benefits as well as knowledge for our fellow Malaysians.

Shah Alam as an industrious city has gained a lot from Japanese investments such as Panasonic, Sharp, JTI, and Shin-Etsu Chemical to name a few. Malaysia’s collaboration with Mitsubishi and Daihatsu has also kickstart our automotive industry spanning from the 80s.

“In fact, to commemorate our diplomatic ties with Japan, Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) has also built the gorgeous Selangor-Japan Friendship Garden located in the heart of Shah Alam.” – Muhammad Shakir, MBSA Councilor

Strong diplomatic relations will not only create knowledge sharing in technology but will also promote cultural exchange for both nations.

This is something a party like PAS don’t understand. They only care about judging others and will never look at the bigger picture on nation building.

We have sizeable number of Japanese expatriates living here. We even have a Japanese school to cater to the Japanese community. It is only natural that they will celebrate their cultural celebration through their community clubs or associations.

Like most cultural celebrations, there will be commercialisation of the particular cultural celebrations and will likely be tweaked to cater to general audience as well. We are witnessing this from Hari Raya to Christmas every year.

Bon Odori has been celebrated for more than 30 years in Malaysia. Throughout the years it has been commercialised and celebrated via commercial or community centres to cater to non Japanese as well. In Malaysia we have many Manga and anime fans as well through the Japanese influence.

There has never been any from of non Islamic religious influence or rituals that can influence Muslims from going astray off their Muslim faith. From my understanding, the main attraction is the musical elements of it such as the dance and the drums.

It has to be understood that this celebration has been going on for more than 30 years. Why does it have to become an issue in this day?

Muslims should be given the chance to evaluate themselves on various cultural celebrations in a very diverse Malaysia. We cannot allow opinions from PAS leaders deny us Malaysians from embracing cultural diversity.

Muhammad Shakir Ameer

MBSA Councilor

DAP Shah Alam

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