Guan Eng: Axing of beer fest an affront to civil liberties


GEORGE TOWN: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today hit out at the Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) move to cancel the Better Beer Festival 2017, calling it an invasion against civil liberties enjoyed by non-Muslims in the country.

He also rubbished DBKL’s explanation that the matter was “politically sensitive”, pointing out that the event had been organised on an annual basis since 2012 without any issues.

“What’s next? Will pubs, liquor shops or the Hungry Ghost Festival be banned?

“This is a gross transgression of fundamental respect for the rule of law and civil liberties, especially for non-Muslims.

“If there is no full explanation for this, I think non-Muslims should feel offended and disturbed… (over) whether their lifestyles are restricted and confined by certain statements made by PAS leaders, imposing PAS values on non-Muslims” he told reporters today.

Lim added that the “politically sensitive” excuse given by DBKL was legally invalid and could be challenged in court.

“Where is it stated in the law that you can reject an application on the basis that it is politically sensitive?

“When I was detained, I was not detained because I was politically sensitive. That cannot be used as a reason.

“If that is used as a reason from now on, then it may be used for everything.”

In 1987, Lim was detained under Ops Lalang, a crackdown on opposition politicians. In 1998, he spent a year in prison for sedition.

Yesterday, it was reported that DBKL had rejected a request from the organisers of the beer festival, MyBeer Malaysia, for a permit to hold the event at Publika Shopping Gallery on Oct 6 and 7.

DBKL corporate communications director Khalid Zakaria said the council had rejected the request for a permit, adding that they had the right to take action against the organisers if they proceeded with the festival.

DBKL’s decision came after PAS’ Riduan Mohd Nor called on authorities to ban the festival, claiming such events could lead to Kuala Lumpur becoming known as the “largest vice den in Asia”.

In response, MyBeer Malaysia released a statement saying they had been instructed to cancel the event due to licensing issues and the political sensitivity surrounding it.

The event was supposed to have featured 250 artisanal beers from 43 microbreweries.

DAP’s Charles Santiago today told PAS to focus on Kelantan instead of Kuala Lumpur, as it had been proven that the state had the highest number of internet users who watched online porn.

“The east coast state also has an increasing crime rate and one of the highest cases of AIDS and drug addiction. It also remains the poorest state in the peninsula,” he said.