PETALING JAYA: Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah summoned state PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi for an audience at Istana Bukit Kayangan.

In a Facebook post, the Selangor Royal Office said the meeting at the palace in Shah Alam yesterday lasted for about an hour.

No details were cited in the post.

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Last week, Ahmad Yunus urged Muslims not to participate in the annual Bon Odori festival scheduled for next month.

In the same statement, he also urged the Selangor government to bar Muslims from attending the festival.

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The festival, scheduled to take place at the Shah Alam Sports Complex on July 16, has been held here for decades as a social event for the Japanese community and businesses here to inculcate goodwill with locals.

Last week, Sultan Sharafuddin suggested that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs Datuk Idris Ahmad – who had also asked Muslims to stay away from the event – attend the festival.

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This came after Idris, who is PAS vice-president, said Muslims should not attend Bon Odori Festival as it had “elements of other religions”.

In a royal response to what Idris said, the Selangor Ruler instructed the state Islamic Religious Department (Jais) to not in any way obstruct the Japanese festival from being held next month.

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Following that, Jais director Datuk Shahzihan Ahmad, in a statement, said Sultan Sharafuddin ordered Jais not to prevent any individuals from attending the festival.

“His Royal Highness is of the opinion that many cultures have links with religion, but religion is not necessarily present in cultures,” added Shahzihan.

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A statement issued by the Selangor Royal Office on June 9 said Sultan Sharafuddin himself had attended the event in 2016 accompanied by the then Japanese ambassador to Malaysia, and through the Sultan’s observation, found that the Bon Odori celebration did not involve religious elements or rituals.

It added that the Ruler also said cultural norms practised by all communities in the world had some connection with religion.

“Nevertheless, with the passage of time, these cultural practices no longer highlighted the religious elements,” it read.