KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has rejected an application to hold the Oktoberfest beer festival in a mall because the police withheld support over purported security risks, a state executive councillor said.
Datuk Teng Chang Khim said it was standard operating procedure for local councils to seek police opinion on any gathering before issuing a permit.
“Police have said no to it, citing a security threat, so the mayor has therefore rejected it,” Teng, who holds the portfolio for investment, industry and commerce, told Malay Mail Online yesterday.
Malay Mail Online sighted a letter from PJ police chief ACP Mohd Zani Che Din to the PJ mayor dated October 3 that said district police “do not support the Bavarian Festival” scheduled at the 1 Utama shopping centre in PJ from today till Sunday.
“This stand is based on security intelligence showing that the event will be a target for militant attacks and subsequently affect public peace,” Mohd Zani wrote.
Malay Mail Online understands that Oktoberfest organisers changed the name of the German beer festival to “Bavarian Festival” in an attempt to “reduce sensitivity”, amid objections from Muslim party PAS and Malay party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) against such events.
This year was supposed to be the sixth year of Oktoberfest here.
According to Teng, Selangor local authorities have been abiding by police advice all this while.
“Jazlan shouldn’t be talking nonsense, especially since DPM has ordered that such gatherings should not be allowed,” said Teng, referring to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed’s claim that local authorities, in “many cases”, ignored the views of the police.
Jazlan also said yesterday local councils had the final authority in approving events.
National newswire Bernama quoted Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying last month that he had ordered a prohibition on the Better Beer Festival 2017 at the Publika shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur.
On the “German F&B Party” scheduled on October 12 in Klang, Teng said as of yesterday, the Klang Municipal Council has yet to cancel the permit that had been issued when the police gave a letter of support on September 14. Police later reportedly revoked the letter.
“Now it goes back to local council, but the federal government cannot run away from this responsibility because they’re the ones who don’t want this to happen,” said Teng.
“They shouldn’t pass the buck back to us.”