KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 -- Former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim urged the Kuala Lumpur mayor today to defend the city’s cultural and entertainment life from racial and religious bigotry.
Expressing concern over Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) ban of a beer festival in a shopping centre following objections from Islamist party PAS, Mohd Sheriff said bending to pressure groups and cancelling music and cultural festivals last minute would affect the capital city’s economy.
“It is worrying to see that the DBKL is giving support to the anti-social elements who want to dictate our lifestyles according to their religious beliefs,” Mohd Sheriff said in a letter to the editor.
“We are seeing political and religious groups making demands for Muslims to be treated separately from other Malaysians at public laundry shops and toilets, at supermarkets, at cinemas and for liquor sales to be outlawed in majority Muslim residential areas. The DBKL ban on beer festival has encouraged these groups to be more brazen in their demand,” he added.
DBKL rejected an application from Mybeer (M) Sdn Bhd to organise the Better Beer Festival 2017 scheduled next month at a shopping centre, with police claiming that the craft beer event had to be cancelled due to a terror threat. The festival was previously held annually since 2012 without incident.
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor reportedly said today that DBKL would not reconsider the ban despite the organiser’s assurances of security measures, claiming that the beer festival violated the law because it involved the sale of liquor in an open area.
Mohd Sheriff pointed out that despite terror attacks in Europe and the United States, Western authorities did not respond by banning public gatherings and festivals.
“Instead, the western leaders have reiterated the need for the civilian population to face the threats with vigilance and go on with their daily life as usual. These countries are determined to stand by their values of freedom and show to the hate groups that the western democratic way of life will not change whatever the threats,” he said.
The former senior civil servant noted that the government was spending billions to make Kuala Lumpur one of the most liveable cities in the world and to improve the capital with trendy architecture and modern infrastructure.
“All this beauty will go to waste if the city administrators give way to the few religious ideologists who want to impose their conservative values on our lifestyles. KL must not be allowed to become a hermit city with no life,” said Mohd Sheriff.