KUCHING: DAP Sarawak has raised its glass in support of Tourism, Arts, Culture Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s stand that the state welcomes Octoberfest to be held in Sarawak.
It also called on the ministry to be more proactive in inviting invite organisers and international beer brewery companies to organise such events here.
“It is utter stupidity on the part of the authorities in West Malaysia to stop Octoberfest and the Better Beer Fest, and for the police to be involved in stopping such an international event. This is a clear sign that the country, under UMNO/BN working hand-in-hand with PAS, is moving towards a more extremist and less tolerant country. What has always been an annual festive event and celebration is now seen as a taboo by the UMNO/BN/PAS pact,” said state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen in a statement today.
He added the state tourism ministry should capitalise on this self-created fiasco of the UMNO Government in West Malaysia and actively invite organisers and international beer and wine breweries to hold such events in Sarawak.
Chong who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman and Bandar Kuching MP pointed out that Octoberfest in Munich, Germany, attracts 6 million tourists over the course of the 16-day celebration and it is not a mere festive celebration but a major tourist attraction and business opportunity.
“The significance of having such events held on a grand scale in Sarawak is not only to boost our tourism market, but more importantly, it will showcase to our counterpart in West Malaysia, the racial harmony and thriving multi-racial and multi-cultural society of Sarawak.
“In addition, besides promoting the beer festival, the ministry should also consider promoting our Sarawak tuak (rice wine). There is a sufficient number of backyard breweries and variety of tuak from different fruits that can be showcased and promoted in a “Tuak Festival”. If the tuak festival and Sarawak tuak can be successfully promoted overseas, it will provide great economic opportunities to our natives and rural community.”
Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Sarawak Chairman
MP for Bandar Kuching / ADUN for Kota Sentosa