ALIFE, a Malaysian organisation that advocates live arts and entertainment events, has spoken up about The Better Beer Festival 2017 fiasco.
The organisation’s vice-president Rizal Kamal said that not only would the controversy rack up losses worth hundreds of thousands in ringgit from the event’s cancellation, it has also dealt a heavy blow to Malaysia’s image as a moderate country.
Last week, it was announced the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has rejected an application to hold The Better Beer Festival 2017. DBKL did not elaborate if the rejection had anything to do with the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) objecting to the event, but The Better Beer Festival organisers later released a statement to confirm that they were informed that the decision was made “due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event”.
A couple of days later, 25 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) gathered outside Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque to protest against festivals that celebrate alcohol and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Malaysia, fearing that The Better Beer Festival 2017 would be held in Selangor instead.
Among the NGOs were Pertubuhan Kebajikan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia, Biro Aduan Masyarakat Selangor, Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia, Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia, Gabungan NGO 1Malaysia, Pertubu han 99 Kebajikan Insan Selangor, Gerakan Team Boss 38, Alif Ba Ta Srikandi Mahsyur and Gerakan Biru Bersatu ABATA.
At the same time, Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia head Abdul Rani Kulup called on the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) and Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) to forbid liquor and gay festivals.
“This should not be our culture and practice. Alcohol consumption is the mother of all immoral acts that could lead to other bad habits. When you drink alcohol, you will get involved in gambling, sexual activities, become gay… all things that are bad will happen,” NST quoted him as saying.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun also revealed that the police had advised DBKL against allowing the beer festival to be held in Kuala Lumpur for security reasons. Apparently, the police had received information that militants planning on sabotaging the event.