It’s Anyone’s Guess Now if the ‘German F&B Party’ Is On

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With the different powers that be tugging in different directions, the Klang event has become a yo-yo of go and no-go.

  • Police supported event
  • Klang Municipal Council (MPK) approved event
  • Event clouded by uncertainty after Better Beer Festival banned
  • On Saturday, DPM ordered blanket ban on beer fests, passing the buck to IGP
  • Police withdrew support for the event
  • On Sunday, MPK retracted approval
  • On Monday, IGP said the power to ban did not lie with the police but the local council
  • Selangor exco Teng Chang Khim said event a go-ahead
  • Today, Teng said organiser did not “technically” have MPK’s approval as the condition of having police support is now not met
Muhammad Sulaiman/NST

North Klang district’s deputy police chief Supt Nor Omar Sappi had in a Sept 14 letter to the Klang event organiser said it had “no objections” and gave its conditional support for the event, following which the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) approved the event.

The MPK’s approval came with several conditions, including the barring of Muslims from entering the vicinity of the event and the omission of the word ‘Oktoberfest’ and renaming the event the ‘Centro German F&B Party’. The event was to be held in Klang’s Centro mall on Oct 12 and 13, from 5pm to 11pm.

Last week, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) said it had rejected the organiser’s application to host the Better Beer Festival at the Publika Shopping Gallery after receiving an application for a permit on Aug 28. This was despite the festival having been run for five years.

The DBKL announcement came a week after PAS central committee member Dr Riduan Mohd Nor opposed the event, calling it a ‘pesta maksiat’ (vice party). He claimed that it would turn Kuala Lumpur into the “largest vice centre in Asia”.

Leaders from both PAS and Umno also voiced their objection to the Klang event.

That was when the ‘German F&B Party’ was clouded by uncertainty, with many a twist and turn since the deputy prime minister ordered the police to pull the plug on the Better Beer Festival 2017.

On Saturday, the North Klang district police chief ACP Mazelan Paijan was reported as saying that no application for the event was received, adding that police will not approve the event as alcoholic beverages will be served there.

“The police will not allow (the event to be organised), just like the recent order from Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who told the police to ensure there would be no beer fest.

“So far, the police have not received any application letter from the organiser… If there are quarters claiming that the event was given the go-ahead, then the (approval) letter is probably a fake one,” Mazelan had said.

According to Sin Chew Dailythe North Klang district police said its previous approval was due to a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the title of the MPK letter regarding the event, and that it was retracting approval.

The North Klang police said the application received was for an entertainment event which would include singing and stage performances, the report said.

Mazelan said the MPK will have to submit a fresh application for police to consider, adding that the latter will have to first evaluate the event to determine that there are no elements that would endanger society, lead to disturbances and incite sensitivities.

Following the police withdrawing their support, the MPK also retracted its previous approval, asserting that it was unrelated to whether alcoholic beverages would be served.

In explaining why the German F&B Party would not be given permission to be held, council president Mohamad Yasid Bidin reportedly said all large-scale private and public events have to receive support from the police for the purposes of ensuring safety.

“Because police retracted the letter of support, we can only retract the approval previously issued to the organiser. We had in the initial assessment of the application also stated clearly that one of the conditions is to obtain the support of the police.

Intan Nur Elliana Zakaria/NST

“In other words, it is a must to obtain police approval, because this is what is required by the rules and is also the norm, for the consideration of safety. I think that this has nothing to do with alcoholic beverages, it is just a commercial activity because they were unable to obtain the police’s approval, we are also unable to approve,” Yasid was quoted as telling Sin Chew Daily.

On Sunday, when asked by reporters about his order of a blanket ban on beer fests, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, “This is a very technical and operational question. I think you should address the question to my IGP.”

Yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun told a press conference that the decision to ban the ‘German F&B Party’ rested with the local council, not the police.

“I have been receiving many calls blaming us for this, but it was not up to us. 

 “We can only advise. If they choose to hold it, they still can,” Fuzi said.

However, he stressed that there was intelligence indicating a militant threat if the event was carried out.

“As I mentioned earlier, we will not allow this thing to happen because we have a real threat with regards to the issue.

“So we will not allow this to happen. We will advise all the respective councils,” Fuzi said.

The IGP also dismissed claims that he had “simply” stopped the event from taking place, calling these “nonsense”.

He said it was the right of the police to advise the respective authorities, especially if there was a real threat.

“So if anything happens, they cannot put the blame on us regarding this issue.

“We are not against the drinking. The threat is real,” Fuzi added.

Meanwhile, Selangor state executive councillor Teng Chang Khim said the ‘German F&B Party’ can go on next week.

He referred to MPK’s earlier approval and said that the official letter was postponed amid uncertainty about the police’s stand on the event.

“Yes, they (organisers) will proceed because they have a temporary permit from MPK, dated Sept 28. MPK had imposed 20 conditions and imposed a RM400 fee.

“However, they have yet to pay because MPK is delaying the permit, due to (recent) statements by the police. We’ll have to see how it goes,” he was quoted saying by Malaysiakini.

Teng alleged that the event organiser was asked to return the Sept 14 letter to the police, claiming that this was likely a result of the police being under pressure after remarks by the deputy prime minister.

He said the police must be professional, reportedly saying: “If there are no problems, especially since this is not the first time the event has been held, just approve it.

“Don’t be afraid of pressure from anyone. To me, when the deputy prime minister made the statement, he was under pressure from certain political parties,” Teng was quoted as saying.

Yusof Mat Isa

In another twist, Teng said the North Klang district police had not rescinded its Sept 14 support letter but it had sent a letter dated Sept 28 requesting for the return of the earlier letter apparently because it was meant to be sent to the MPK and not the organiser, The Star reported today.

“The police only said the letter was sent to the wrong recipient and never mentioned anything about it being revoked,” Teng was quoted as saying.

The MPK had issued the organiser a permit to hold the event based on the police support letter, he said.

However, MPK president Mohd Yasid Bidin now says the event organiser did not “technically” have the council’s approval to hold the party, according to the report.

“There are 20 conditions the organisers must meet and one of it is getting approval from the police, which they do not have now,” Yasid was quoted as saying.

Intan Nur Elliana Zakaria/NST

For now, it’s anyone’s guess if the controversial event is on or off.

Earlier reports:

Oct 2, Ask IGP, Zahid Says, After Ordering Beer Fest Ban

Sept 19, “Sensitive Issue” of Axing Beer Festival

Sept 18, No-Go for Beer Festival