A CELEBRATION of ales, stouts and lagers in Malaysia’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur, has been called off after a objections from an Islamist political party.
The organisers of the Better Beer Festival 2017 confirmed on Monday that they would be forced to cancel the event slated for October 6 and 7 because government had not approved their permit to host it. The event was expected to see some 6,000 people in attendance.
“At our meeting with officials at the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, we were instructed to cancel our event as there are issues with the licensing,” said the organisers Mybeer in a statement, who had previously assured authorities that it was for non-Muslims only.
“We were further informed that the decision was made due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event.”
The Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) had protested the festival, arguing that the consumption of alcohol is haram or forbidden in Islam and not part of “Eastern culture.”
PAS routinely raises objections to events or activities it sees as offensive to Islam, including recently voicing opposition to the American heavy metal band Megadeth touring Malaysia.
Its spokesman Dr Riduan Mohd Nor recently expressed that the beer festival would turn Kuala Lumpur into the “biggest centre of vice in Asia.”
“It is something that is shameful for an Islamic country like Malaysia, when mungkar (treacherous) programmes can easily gain a place in the society’s heart and it is allowed to be organised without obstruction,” he said as quoted by the Malay Mail Online.
PAS advocates for the imposition of strict Islamic law across Malaysia, including incorporating corporal punishment into the criminal code.
The country already bars Muslims from drinking alcohol or engaging in pre-marital sexual relations.