KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — The Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association would not object to the promotion and distribution of alcohol if it were organised within the confines of entertainment outlets, said its chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan.
In agreeing with the move by City Hall to reject the application by the organisers of Better Beer Festival 2017 scheduled for next month, Nadzim said such large-scale events which occupied public space were inappropriate.
“If they want to promote it at pubs, we are okay with it because that is how it has been done in the past,” Nadzim told Malay Mail.
“This is not about religion as Malaysia is a multiracial country. We cannot do something that is in conflict with the general order of things,” he added.
City Hall announced it denied approval for the festival following protests by PAS, and a senior official said the application was submitted this month.
The official added if the organiser insisted on continuing with the event, the council was entitled to act under existing legal provisions.
The festival’s organiser, Mybeer (M) Sdn Bhd, disclosed they were informed the ban was attributed to “religious sensitivities”.
The two-day festival was scheduled to be held on Oct 6 and 7 at Publika, Solaris Dutamas. It was to feature 250 craft beers from 43 breweries worldwide.
Nadzim quoted the example of ketum leaves and its juice which have been banned by the government.
“Despite the medical benefits of ketum, the ban remains in force because of its hallucinatory effects and abuse.
“Consumption of alcohol is forbidden in Islam. However, we do not oppose it to the extent that it should be banned in pubs,” he said.
“From our research, other religions do not condone consuming substances which would result in intoxication or misbehaviour.”
Nadzim said any large-scale festivals or activities should promote the betterment of society.
On Monday, Nadzim was reported as saying the impact of alcohol consumption on society should not be underestimated, adding it affected the health, safety and well-being of the people.