Liow respects decision to call off beer fest

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MCA has accepted the decision of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) which rejected an application to organise the Better Beer Festival 2017 in the federal capital for security reasons.

According to Bernama, MCA president Liow Tiong Lai said he raised the issue to cabinet today and was informed that the decision was made for security reasons as advised by the police.

"I am satisfied with the information given during the meeting and as a responsible party and government, the safety of the public has always been our top priority," said the transport minister when met by reporters after attending the cabinet meeting.

Liow, however, was disappointed with some of the political statements made by DAP on the issue, which depicted as if the government banned the people from drinking liquor.

"To organise such an event, we must place utmost importance on public safety first and we should respect the decision and advice made by the authorities and police," he said.

According to reports by Chinese dailies, Liow was quoted saying that DBKL's decision had nothing to do with politics or religion.

"If it is political or religious sensitivities, then I would not accept it.

"But if it is a question of security, this is something I cannot get upset about," said Liow, according to Kwong Wah Daily.

Liow's change of heart

He said that he respected the decision and that if it had not been held in a public area then it would not have been a problem.

This was a far cry from what Liow said yesterday after chairing the MCA presidential council meeting.

According to Sin Chew Daily, Liow said that the event has been held over the past few years without any incident and therefore DBKL should not stop it now.

"We cannot accept personal opinions being adopted as government policy, which can lead to Kuala Lumpur becoming an international laughing stock.

"We uphold the Federal Constitutional and freedom of various ethnic groups. As long as the country's laws are not violated, we believe DBKL should allow the event to take place," he said.

The Better Beer Festival, an event to promote smaller breweries, has been taking place without much fanfare in Kuala Lumpur since 2011.

However, it came to national prominence after PAS central committee member Riduan Mohd Nor complained about it less than a fortnight ago and said it would lead to reprisals from extremists.

Organisers   Mybeer (M) Sdn Bhd said they had been informed that the event had to be cancelled this year due to political sensitivities.

'Will DAP be responsible for incidences?'

Meanwhile, MCA religious harmony bureau chief Ti Lian Ker backed Liow' latest stance.

"Liow had earlier asserted that MCA will not accept DBKL decision if it is based on religious sensitivity or in disregard of the rights and freedoms of non-Muslims.

"Upon due explanations by the Police that are tasked to ensure public safety and national security and upon the assurances that DBKL denied the organiser’s application due to security and safety considerations and not due to any change of policies or pressures by PAS, MCA, as a responsible party, has to respect and give the benefit of doubt to the intelligence and expertise of our police," he said.

Ti stressed that MCA will reject DBKL's decision if it was due to political or religious reasons.

"The constitutional rights of non-Muslims is intact and will not be compromised," he said.

Ti also panned the DAP for criticising DBKL's decision not to approve the event.

"Dare DAP shoulder any responsibility if there are any untoward incidents during the beer festival or will they blame it on MCA too?

"The security threats against lives and property of non-Muslims are real and imminent and should not be taken for granted.

"For DAP or rocket, it is politics as usual. MCA will not take lightly public security or any infringement of non-Muslim rights or liberty," he said.

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