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Malaysia

Militant sabotage plot forces cancellation of Malaysia beer festival

The Better Beer Festival scrapped after an influential Islamic party warned it could turn Kuala Lumpur into ‘the biggest centre of vice in Asia’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 September, 2017, 6:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 September, 2017, 7:00pm

An annual beer festival in Kuala Lumpur has been axed due to information that militants were planning to sabotage the event, police said Thursday.

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall on Monday banned the “Better Beer Festival” scheduled for October 6-7 in a shopping centre, without giving any reasons. It followed protests from an Islamist party that called it a vice festival that could lead to criminal acts, rape and free sex.

The festival, which features craft beers from 43 breweries worldwide, has been held in Malaysia annually since 2012. The cancellation has angered many Malaysians, who slammed it as a sign of growing Islamization in the country.

National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police have information that unidentified militants were planning to sabotage the event because it was deemed to be against their struggle.

He said that several other parties, which he didn’t name, were also planning to create chaos at the festival.

“To avoid any incident beyond our control, police have to be proactive by objecting to the organising of the festival to ensure public safety and security,” he said in a brief statement.

In a separate statement earlier Thursday, Fuzi said police had detained 41 foreign militant suspects this year alone. Since 2013, police in Malaysia have detained more than 300 people believed to be linked to Islamic State.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse