PETALING JAYA - The Better Beer Festival, held for five years in a row, has been canned.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) confirmed that it has rejected the organisers' application to hold this year's edition in October.
DBKL corporate communications director Khalid Zakaria said the application was received on Aug 28.
"The application for the activity at the place, time and date was not approved. If the organiser goes ahead with the event, DBKL can take action," he said.
The Better Beer Festival was scheduled to take place on Oct 6 and 7 at Publika Shopping Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, featuring 250 different craft beers from 43 breweries worldwide.
The DBKL announcement came a week after PAS central committee member Dr Riduan Mohd Nor spoke out against what he termed was a "vice party", claiming it would turn Kuala Lumpur into Asia's largest vice centre.
Festival organiser MyBeer, a craft beer distributor, said it was disappointed with the decision.
"At our meeting with DBKL officials, we were instructed to cancel our event due to licensing issues.
"We were further informed that the decision was made due to political sensitivity surrounding the event.
"We regret any inconvenience caused to our patrons, partners and sponsors and thank you for your unwavering support,'' the company said in a statement yesterday.
MyBeer had expected about 6,000 people to show up for this year's festival.
Criticising the move, MCA religious harmony bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker urged DBKL to be consistent in its actions and give the full reasons for the cancellation.
He said it could not arbitrarily reject the application and threaten action against the organiser.
"This is more so if they previously approved such events but have now arbitrarily decided otherwise," he said in a statement.
Ti said DBKL must not be seen as making decisions according to its whims or caving in to pressure.
Gerakan Youth deputy chief Andy Yong concurred, saying that the sudden cancellation was not fair.
"How is a beer festival a vice party?" he asked.
"It is a popular celebration globally and no untoward incident has been reported,'' he added.
DAP's Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the cancellation was an infringement on "a democratic way of life. Vice to PAS is whatever they don't like."
Meanwhile, PAS vice-president Datuk Iskandar Samad said the party had objected to the festival as it believed it would result in "negative influences".
He said the people should not be confused that the objection was to stop non-Muslims from consuming alcohol.
"It is their right. But having this festival and promoting Malaysia as a destination for alcohol is another,'' he said after chairing a dialogue with media representatives and residents on housing issues in Shah Alam yesterday.