Santiago: Why can’t police keep beer festival safe?

charles-beer-festPETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has questioned why police could not provide protection for the Better Beer Festival 2017 which has been ordered to be cancelled.

He said police had been able to do so for other major events that had sizeable crowds.

The DAP legislator said the festival, scheduled to be held on Oct 6 and 7 at Publika Shopping Gallery in Kuala Lumpur before the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) disallowed it last week, was supposed to be a beer-tasting event, featuring craft beer from various countries available at one venue.

“It’s certainly not a scenario where one gets free-flowing alcohol, drug abuse and illicit sex in a dark alley. This is not a Hollywood movie.”

He said there were many public events drawing large crowds held throughout the year, like the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur last month, the Merdeka Day parade and football matches.

“We can’t certainly hold any of these gatherings if we are afraid of a handful of unruly spectators or the possibility of a militant attack,” he said in a statement today.

“Our police have always risen to the occasion and kept these celebrations and sporting events safe.

“Why is the annual craft beer festival any different?”

On Sept 21, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun was reported as saying that police had advised DBKL against allowing the event because of security reasons.

He was quoted by Bernama as saying that police had received information on militants planning to sabotage the event.

In a statement on Sept 18, the festival organiser, MyBeer Malaysia, said they were told by the authorities that the event was “politically sensitive” and therefore could not proceed as scheduled.

Santiago said he did not dismiss the fact that the police had a role in maintaining peace.

“But people smell a rat when they feel the police are playing a role in partisan politics.”

On Sept 19, Santiago had criticised DBKL’s move, saying it was a clear sign of creeping Islamisation.

“We have been seeing growing protests from Islamists, PAS and other conservative groups against concerts by Western artistes, songs deemed too racy and even Valentine’s Day celebrations,” he had said.

“Such radical elements are dangerous in a multiracial, multi-religious country such as Malaysia, where the Federal Constitution guarantees civil liberties for all citizens,” he added.