GEORGE TOWN: Malaysians should avoid commercialisation of religion in conjunction with Ramadan month, the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) said.
CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris said with the Muslim community fasting, Ramadan was similar to the month of festivals - food festivals, buffet festivals, iftar festivals, sahur festivals and shopping festivals.
He drew reference to the statistics of the National Solid Waste Management Department where the month of Ramadan was synonymous with an increase in total solid waste dumped by Malaysians.
He said the latest report explained that the solid waste in the state of Perlis increased by 25 per cent or 180 tonnes a day in Ramadan compared to 130 tonnes a day in a regular month.
“As such, CAP calls on Malaysians to avoid commercialisation of religion.
“It is necessary to mobilise society at all levels, including the authorities and the government, so that this month of Ramadan is appreciated once more as the month of worship and the month to do good,” he said today.
According to Idris, commercialisation of religion was when there was element of trading, influencing and exploiting religion for the sake of material goods alone.
He noted that there were signboards advertising hotels, restaurants, residences and even villages in the area that promoted a wide variety of iftar and sahur packages and offered dozens of types of food at various prices.
“The Ramadan bazaar, which exists in every corner of society, reinforces the meaning of commercialisation of religion.
“Malaysians, especially those who are Muslims, should be more sensitive to this issue by avoiding buffet festivals and iftar and sahur events that are far from true Islamic teachings.
“Food wastage, dozens of types of food during iftar or sahur, excessive spending, advertisements promoting pre-Eid celebration sales and hotel buffets are a manifestation of the commercialisation of religion,” he stressed.
Idris said the government should ensure that the commercialisation of religion be contained during the month of Ramadan.
“Any form of commercialisation of religion should be restricted.
“The Islamic bodies and institutions that are responsible should be the defenders against efforts to commercialise religion,” he added.