PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad took to task those who have questioned his position on the issue of beer festivals, saying they should instead be more worried about drug addiction among Muslim youths.

The Pakatan Harapan chairman said as far as he was concerned, it was up to non-Muslims if they wished to drink until they passed out, as long as they did not cause any problems for others or drove while in a drunken state.

“I am instead heartbroken by the rampant drug abuse among Muslim youths and children, that resulted in the deaths of 21 tahfiz school students, whose hostel was burned down,” he said in his latest blog posting, referring to the youths charged with causing the fire in Datuk Keramat in Kuala Lumpur.

“Surprisingly, Muslims who are criticising beer fests, are nonchalant about the deaths of these schoolchildren, and the problem that led to it, saying it was all fated.”

Elaborating on the drug problem in the country, Mahathir, who is also PPBM chairman, said the bigger question was why drug addiction was so widespread among Malay-Muslim youths.

“Why don’t we hear about Chinese and Indian youths being involved in drugs as much as we do the Malays? Is this also because of fate?

“Why isn’t more done to ensure Malay children reject drugs?” Mahathir asked, adding that part of the problem was due to their parent’s lack of control over them.

He also suggested that with the prevalence of tahfiz schools and religious education, religious teachers should also be responsible for ensuring these youths rejected drugs.

“Instead, aside from the teaching of Islamic obligations, there is no emphasis on civic mindedness, the good and the bad, and on life lessons that are part of Islam.

“As a result, these youths easily pick up bad habits, including drug addiction,” he said.

The issue of beer festivals came to light last month when a PAS leader called for the banning of the “Better Beer Festival 2017” scheduled for Oct 6-7 at the Publika Shopping Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) then notified the organisers of the event, which had been held for the previous five years without incident, that they could not go ahead with the event this year.

After much protest from various quarters, Inspector-General of Police Mohd Fuzi Harun weighed in on the controversy, saying that the police had advised the authorities that there was an imminent militant threat at the venue, and that police had also heard some elements planned to create chaos at the event.

Subsequent plans for other beer fests, in conjunction with the German Oktoberfest celebration, in Selangor were also called off due to pressure from Muslim groups.

Last week, Sungai Besar Umno division chief Jamal Yunos took several crates of beer bottles, and smashed them at the gates of the state secretariat building in Shah Alam, saying it was his protest against the Selangor Menteri Besar.

Taking a dig at Jamal’s antics, Mahathir said more attention should be paid to the issue of drug addiction among Muslim youths, instead of trying to stop non-Muslims from drinking beer.

“This is my opinion. Don’t criticise me and but if you want to be angry that I did not go and smash beer bottles in front of the menteri besar’s office, then go ahead.

“Just make sure that we don’t drink beer and don’t take drugs. That is better than smashing beer bottles,” Mahathir said.-FMT NEWS-

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