Kit Siang puzzled why beer festival banned for security reasons

lim-kit-siang-beer-festival-2017-logo-malaysia-1KUALA LUMPUR: Lim Kit Siang finds it strange that a small and localised event such as the Better Beer Festival can be banned on the grounds of security.

The DAP parliamentary leader last night called on Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun to clarify if Malaysia’s safety and security had become so “compromised and brittle” that such a small event had to be banned.

The MP for Gelang Patah noted that the event had been held for several years. He was speaking at a “DAP kopitiam dialogue” at the Pelangi hawker centre, Stulang, Johor Baru.

MCA president Liow Tiong Lai had said earlier yesterday that he had raised the matter at the cabinet meeting and that ministers were told the cancellation was due to security concerns.

“This was the report given to us. We must accept the police’s views as we have to take into consideration the people’s safety,” he told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

Lim asked: “Have security and safety in Malaysia become so tenuous and perilous that the Better Beer Festival, which had been held for the past several years, had to be banned because of ‘security’ reasons?

“Is this the way to promote tourism and turn Malaysia into a tourists’ haven when even the federal government and the police cannot guarantee the safety and security of a very localised event, like the Better Beer Festival, in the federal capital?

“Isn’t such a ban encouraging the extremists and fanatics to up their demands, even sending a signal to Islamic State supporters that Malaysia is a fertile ground for them to cultivate to spread their brand of bigotry, extremism and intolerance in Malaysia?”

Lim said the police owed Malaysians “a full and satisfactory explanation” as to whether they had advised Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to ban the Better Beer Festival because of extremist and terrorist threats.

He said Fuzi “should not allow partisan politics to interfere with police professionalism and duties”.

Lim said DAP supported the professionalism of the police force, and took seriously the police work of fighting crime and ensuring safety and security.

That was the reason, he said, DAP MPs had recently invited the head of the federal police Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Division assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay to give a briefing on the latest developments on the terrorist threat in Malaysia.

Lim also took the opportunity to slam MCA, especially its president Liow Tiong Lai.

The DAP stalwart said MCA had shown it was a party without principles by its stand on the beer festival. He said Liow had initially opposed the ban but, after the cabinet meeting, had endorsed the ban.

The Better Beer Festival 2017 was scheduled to be held on Oct 6 and 7 at the Publika mall in Solaris Dutamas but it was cancelled by DBKL. It was supposed to have featured 250 different craft beers from 43 breweries worldwide.

The inaugural festival took place in 2012 at Taps Beer Bar in Changkat Bukit Bintang. Last October, more than 3,500 craft beer lovers attended the event at Publika Shopping Gallery.