KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian authorities scrapped an annual beer festival on Monday after an Islamist party objected to the event that had been planned for the first weekend of October in the country’s capital.
Though there are plenty of beer drinkers among the sizable Chinese and Indian minorities, protests against events deemed to be “western” and unIslamic - such as concerts and festivals involving alcohol - are common in Muslim-majority Malaysia and are usually led by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) said in a short statement on Monday that it has rejected the application for a permit by the organizers of the “Better Beer Festival 2017” to host the event, which would have entered its sixth year.
“If the organizers continue with the event without DBKL’s approval, action will be taken in accordance to existing laws,” city hall said.
Mybeer (M) Sdn Bhd, the company organizing the event, said in a separate statement that they were informed by DBKL officials that the decision was made “due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event”.
A member of PAS’ central committee, Riduan Mohd Nor, said in a statement on Sept. 10 that there is no guarantee that such events would not lead to criminal acts, rape and free sex.
Opponents of the beer festival also launched a campaign on Facebook to block the event.
Around 6,000 people had been expected to attend the two-day festival, which would have featured craft beers from at least 11 countries, according to Facebook posts by the organizers and local news reports.
Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore