By Zareef Muzammil
SHAH ALAM, June 7 — Selangor will consult with the authorities including the Japanese Embassy in Malaysia and researchers to obtain detailed information on the organising of the Bon Odori Festival, which is said to have elements from religions other than Islam.
Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Amirudin Shari said previously there have been no issues with Bon Odori since it is considered a cultural event.
He was made to understand that the festival’s aim in Malaysia is to strengthen the relationship between individuals and companies that have collaborated with the Land of the Rising Sun, in line with the nation’s Look East Policy.
“It is almost similar to the Ponggal Festival, which is to celebrate their joy. So I am not sure if it (Bon Odori) has elements of other religions or vice-versa.
“We have to get information from the research institutions and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais). We noticed this matter (came out) a few days ago in Wikipedia, as before there was no issue,” Amirudin said.
The Menteri Besar was speaking to reporters after launching the Selangor Public Health Advisory Council (Selphac) at Dewan Jubli Perak, in the Selangor State Secretariat Building here today.
Commenting further, he said the Japanese Embassy will provide feedback after discussion as the festival is a yearly event.
“We join in the celebration by giving space to other religions to celebrate their festival. We have no objection and would help in terms of costs if the advice is valid,” Amirudin said.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad advised Muslims not to participate in programmes that could affect their religion and beliefs, including the Bon Odori Festival on July 16.
He said a study conducted by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) found that the festival does have a religious element to it.