KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police said Thursday militants had been planning to target a beer festival in the capital Kuala Lumpur which was cancelled after protests from Islamists.
The Better Beer Festival, due to take place on October 6 and 7, was scrapped this week after an influential Islamic party warned it could turn the city into “the biggest center of vice in Asia.”
Authorities in multi-ethnic Malaysia came under fire over the cancellation, with critics accusing them of caving in to hardliners at a time fears are mounting that they are growing increasingly influential.
But national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said authorities had received information of plans by militants to “sabotage” the festival, which had run for the past five years, because it “went against their struggle.”
He added that there were some groups that planned to “cause chaos” while the craft beer festival was going on. He did not identify the militants allegedly planning to target the event.
“To avoid any out of control incidents from happening, the police acted proactively by establishing their objection to the organizing of the festival,” he said in a statement.
Drinking alcohol is common among Muslim-majority Malaysia’s large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, but there have been a growing number of protests against events seen as un-Islamic by politicians and hardliners.