In response to a question posed by Member of Parliament Baey Yam Keng, Second Minister for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli told Parliament today that the organisers of Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) were unable to assure the Singapore government that they had put in place adequate measures to prevent drug activities at the event.
He said that the police and the Central Narcotics Bureau had engaged the organisers several times to assess their security plan for the event.
The FMFA was supposed to be held last month on 13th and 14th March but was cancelled over fears of potential drug abuse at the event.
The FMFA is a spin-off from Future Music Festival (FMF) which was established in Australia in 2006. FMFA was launched in 2012 in Kuala Lumpur and was staged there over the last two years.
Mr Masagos said that there were previous incidents of drug-related activities associated with past FMF and FMFA events, such as the FMFA in Kuala Lumpur, which was cancelled after 6 people died and 14 were hospitalised due to drug abuse. More than 100 drug-related arrests were made in 2013's FMF Sydney.
“Considering the repeated drug-related incidents, including deaths and serious illness, that had occurred at the FMFA and FMF events in KL and Australia respectively, it would have been irresponsible to allow it to be held in Singapore without adequate safeguards and assurances,” said Mr Masagos. “The event would also not have been consistent with our zero-tolerance stance towards drugs. Therefore the police decided to reject the application for this event to be held in Singapore.”
He also pointed out that the impact of the cancellation of the event by the organisers was greater as they had advertised and marketed the event even before they had obtained approval to hold it.
He added that Singapore should remain a “place with music festivals where people can enjoy themselves in a safe and trouble-free manner.”