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SHAH ALAM: Some 25 non-governmental organisations came together today to protest against festivals that celebrate alcohol and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Malaysia.

The group’s spokesman Nazilah Idris said they were strongly against such activities being held in the open.

“We urge the government to not approve permits or requests to organise any festivals that insults the sanctity of Islam.

“And we also call on the government to enact a law that will only permit alcohol consumption in closed areas. People should be prohibited from drinking alcohol outside or in public areas including organising festivals.

“Will an event like the Better Beer Festival 2017 do any good for Malaysians? Can the organisers answer this? I’m sure they can’t,” said the Selangor Community Complaints Bureau chairman.

She said the NGOs were worried that the festival would be held in Selangor now that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall had rejected the organiser, MyBeer Malaysia’s application to hold the event at Publika Shopping Gallery in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 6 and 7.

Besides that, a gay festival “White Party” was also scheduled to be held in KL on Sept 30.

Nazilah also called on opposition party members and Selangor state executive members, including DAP publicity chief Tony Pua, DAP vice-president Teresa Kok and DAP Bukit Bendera Member of Parliament Zairil Khir Johari to retract their statements supporting such activities.

“We will give them 7 days to retract their statements and apologise to Muslims in this country. If not, we will not hesitate to hold more protests,” she told reporters after the protest outside the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque here today.

Nazilah said the group had also submitted a memorandum to the Selangor palace this morning to stop a possible organising of the beer festival in the state.

Among the NGOs were Pertubuhan Kebajikan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia, Biro Aduan Masyarakat Selangor, Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia, Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia, Gabungan NGO 1Malaysia, Pertubuhan 99 Kebajikan Insan Selangor, Gerakan Team Boss 38, Alif Ba Ta Srikandi Mahsyur and Gerakan Biru Bersatu ABATA.

About 100 people participated in the protest after the Friday prayers.

Meanwhile, Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia head Abdul Rani Kulup called on the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to forbid liquor and gay festivals.

“This should not be our culture and practice. Alcohol consumption is the mother of all immoral acts that could lead to other bad habits.

“When you drink alcohol, you will get involved in gambling, sexual activities, become gay… all things that are bad will happen,” he said, adding that organisers should refrain from naming the festivals as beer or gay fest that angers people.

Selangor Pas exco member Roslee Yusof said such festivals touched on the Islamic community sensitivity.

“We don’t mind non-Muslims drinking alcohol. We respect their rights to drink in their houses or close areas. But to have an open festival like this? This is not our culture.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun had on Sept 21, revealed that the police had advised the City Hall against allowing the beer festival to be held in Kuala Lumpur for security reasons.

Police, he said had received information on militants planning on sabotaging the event.

The first Better Beer Festival was held in 2012 at Taps Beer Bar in Changkat Bukit Bintang.

Members of several NGOs gather at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah mosque to protest against festivals that celebrate alcohol and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Malaysia. Pic by ROSLIN MAT TAHIR
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