KL bans beer festival 

Malaysia has called time on a popular October beer festival in Kuala Lumpur after an Islamic party stretched credulity by claiming it would turn the capital into the “biggest centre of vice in Asia”. 

A trip to Pattaya in Thailand might be required.

The Better Beer Festival on October 6 and 7 would have been the Muslim-majority country’s biggest craft beer festival, featuring 250 brews from 43 international firms. It was set to attract around 6,000 visitors.

Malaysia has laws that prohibit Muslims from drinking which do not apply to the Chinese community and other minority groups.

Around 60 per cent of the 30 million Malaysians are Muslim.

However, protests are increasing against alcohol and western-style music and other activities that are seen as un-Islamic.

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) warned that the event would cause crime, free sex and rape.

PAS also warned “that there could be extremist actions when society is unable to accept the treachery and feels under pressure”.

Opponents of the festival launched a Facebook campaign to block the event.

PAS’s central executive committee member Dr Riduan Mohd Nor, who made the hyperbolic “largest vice centre in Asia” remark, said: “It is something that is shameful for an Islamic country like Malaysia,” according to the Malaysian Star online.

Festival organiser, MyBeer, confirmed the decision.

“At our meeting with DBKL [Kuala Lumpur municipal] officials, we were instructed to cancel our event as there are issues with the licensing. We were further informed that the decision was made due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event,” MyBeer said.

DBKL said it had rejected the permit for what would have been the festival’s sixth year.

“If the organisers continue with the event without DBKL’s approval, action will be taken in accordance to existing laws,” the municipal authorities said.

Thomas Fann wrote in Free Malaysia Today: “My concern is, now that they have become emboldened with this ‘success’, what will their next target be? Will it be the closure of all pubs and bars and the eventual outlawing of alcohol?

“Is alcohol the only item that Islamists find offensive? What is next? Banning the consumption of pork, keeping dogs, the display of any graven images or symbols (like statues, sculptures, idols, crosses), unIslamic attire, unIslamic music and instruments and non-Islamic festivals like Christmas, Thaipusam, Wesak, Chinese New Year and Kaamatan (harvest)?”

In August the government announced that it would “hunt down” atheists, threatening to jail “apostates”.

Kuala Lumpur’s nightlife might get more sober. Picture credit: Pixabay