Axing of beer fest won’t affect tourism, says Matta


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has dismissed concerns that the cancellation of a beer fest in Kuala Lumpur will have a negative impact on tourism.

This came after five Kuala Lumpur opposition MPs voiced concern that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) move to reject a permit for the Better Beer Festival 2017 would jeopardise the country’s tourism industry.

The MPs said many foreigners would hesitate to visit Malaysia due to the government’s apparent restrictiveness, and urged the tourism and culture ministry to intervene.

But Matta president Tan Kok Liang said it was unlikely that the cancellation of the event would affect tourism.

“Foreign tourists don’t come to Kuala Lumpur just for a beer fest,” he told FMT in a text.

On Monday, the organisers of The Better Beer Festival 2017 said they had been told by authorities that the event was “politically sensitive” and could not proceed as scheduled next month.

Prior to that, DBKL corporate communications director Khalid Zakaria said MyBeer Malaysia’s request for a permit to hold the event at Publika Shopping Gallery, received on Aug 28, had been rejected.

“If the organiser proceeds with the event, we have the right to take action to the full extent of the law,” he said.

The festival, which was to be held on Oct 6 and 7, was set to showcase 250 different craft beers by 43 independent breweries from 12 countries, along with a variety of food and live performances.

PAS central committee member Riduan Mohd Nor had labelled the beer fest as a “vice festival”, saying such events could lead to Kuala Lumpur becoming known as Asia’s vice centre.

He also asked the authorities what guarantee they could give members of the public who did not participate in the annual event “to ensure their safety from crime, free sex, rape and so on”.