STB: S'pore still a vibrant leisure destination

Future Music Festival Asia's (FMFA) entry into Singapore was a commercial decision by its event organiser, which is responsible for liaising with the relevant authorities to obtain the necessary permits, said the Singapore Tourism Board.

Its executive director, arts, entertainment & integrated resorts, Ms Carrie Kwik, was responding to The New Paper's queries whether it was aware that applications to hold the festival had been rejected.

She said: "Singapore has a diverse calendar of entertainment events. Its cancellation does not affect our standing as a vibrant leisure destination."

The police confirmed on Wednesday that they rejected two separate applications - received on Jan 12 and Feb 16 and rejected on Jan 29 and Feb 27 - for a permit to hold the festival.

In response to media queries about the rejections, the police mentioned "drug-related activities that had taken place at past Future Music Festival events, including its March 2014 event in Kuala Lumpur that resulted in drug-related deaths and hospitalisations, including several Singaporeans".

A Malaysian died of a suspected drug overdose at the event and five others died later, also from suspected drug overdoses.

Fifteen foreigners and 14 Malaysians were arrested on site and 16 people were taken to hospital for suspected drug overdose.

Nine people, six of whom were believed to be Singaporeans, were treated at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre after they collapsed.

Festival-goers contacted by TNP were concerned that there is still no permit for the Singapore event.

About 15,000 out of 20,000 tickets have been sold.

Yesterday, the organiser issued a press release to encourage the public to use the hashtags #KeepFMFAAlive and #DrugFreeFuture on social media to spread the anti-drug message in the hope that the festival will go ahead.