KOTA KINABALU: Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah made the right call to allow the Bon Odori Festival to continue, says Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

The former Sabah chief minister said Malaysians should appreciate the event as another plus point for diversity in the country.

“Let us celebrate diversity and not make reckless decisions,” he said in a Facebook post on Thursday (June 9).

He said he supported Sultan Sharafuddin’s instructions to Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) to allow the festival, scheduled to be held in Shah Alam on July 16 to proceed.

The Ruler had also urged Jais officers and the Shah Alam City Council to attend the festival in order for them to personally see and learn what the festival was actually all about.

The event has been held in Selangor for decades in line with Malaysia’s Look East Policy and to create a platform of goodwill between Malaysians and the many Japanese businesses that had heavily invested in the state.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs Datuk Idris Ahmad had recently remarked that the Bon Odori Festival had elements of another religion and that Muslims must not attend it due to this factor.

In response to this, Sultan Sharafuddin had instructed Jais not to in any way obstruct the festival from being held.

Jais director Datuk Shahzihan Ahmad said in a statement that Sultan Sharafuddin had also ordered them not to prevent any individuals from attending it.