KUALA LUMPUR— MCA’s Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker suggested today that the controversial “Better Beer Festival 2017” had to be cancelled due to a security threat from Islamic State (IS) militants rather than political pressure from PAS.
The publicity spokesman of the Barisan Nasional (BN) component party said he had been briefed that non-Muslims would be at risk if the event was allowed to go on as planned next month.
“As a responsible party and government, we cannot gamble with public security or put the public at risk. We cannot take for granted that IS militants are now targeting Malaysia and in particular Non-Muslims for attacks to drive across their points and views.
“Common sense dictates that most of the people converging at the ‘Better Beer Festival’ would be non-Muslims and they would be sitting ducks for any security threats,” Ti said in an amended statement a few hours after issuing the original without disclosing the source of his assertion on the IS threat to the festival.
Previously, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had only cited “political sensitivity” for refusing Mybeer (M) Sdn Bhd’s application to hold a craft beer event in October, though similar beer festivals have been held annually without incident in the Klang Valley.
The police have also not issued any statement to date suggesting beer festivals be withheld due to security threats from militants.
Instead, PAS politicians praised DBKL for rejecting the beer festival application, which they claimed would make Malaysia into Asia’s foremost vice hub.
Ti stressed that MCA would not have accepted DBKL’s rejection of the event if it meant compromising the constitutional rights of non-Muslims, but expressed relief that City Hall had now given his party an assurance that the forced cancellation was for the people’s safety instead.
“There is no change on BN government moderate policies but public safety and national security is of paramount consideration and must not be compromised,” he said.
He reminded his political foes of the past security threats to Malaysian non-Muslims, the most recent being the arrest of a suspected IS militant in Perak who reportedly planned to kill non-Muslims and attack their places of worship earlier this week.
Ti also highlighted the grenade attack on the Movida pub that injured eight people in Puchong, Selangor last year, which police said was the first IS assault on home soil.
The MCA religious harmony bureau chairman then challenged DAP MPs who have vocally urged federal ministers to intervene and reverse DBKL’s decision if they were willing to take responsibility if harm should befall the beer festival patrons.
“Dare DAP shoulder any responsibility if there’s any untoward incidents during the Beer Fest or will they blame it on MCA too?” he asked.
He accused the federal Opposition party of using the issue to “score brownie points” and urged them to stop their politicking.
“They should in all sincerity acknowledge that there is clear past and present danger of attacks by IS, Daesh etc particularly in the Klang Valley vicinity.
“We cannot and must not wantonly put the public at risk,” Ti said.