The association of Arts, Live, International Festivals and Events (ALIFE) has called on the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to make public the results of the investigations into last year's unfortunate fatalities at Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) after news emerged that the deaths were caused by heatstroke and not drug overdose.
Yesterday a local news daily reported the findings of University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) forensic pathology department head Prof Dr K. Nadesan who ruled the deaths were most likely caused by heatstroke.
UMMC handled the post-mortem for 3 of the dead and also treated 9 others. Dr Nadedan said those who died tested positive for ecstasy or MDMA, but it was much lower than the average recreational level of 0.1 to 0.25 microgram per millilitre.
ALIFE has released a public statement in light of the new findings.
"Like the Malaysian public, the arts and live events industry, for over a year, has been led to believe that drugs played a decisive factor to the unfortunate deaths at FMFA 2014.
"Since the incident of that day, FMFA has been made as a scapegoat for the decline of the live events industry in Malaysia, particularly when it comes to events that promote the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) genre.
"With the latest discovery and in the interest of full transparency, we call on the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to first and foremost make public the investigation reports on FMFA 2014, information which till this day, is only privy to only the PDRM.
"Our hearts also go out to the families and friends of those affected by this tragedy as they are once again, forced to seek closure over a year on."
ALIFE is an association representing concert organisers and other players, including producers, event managers in the arts and live events industry.
Last month, ALIFE organized a press conference at Black Box, Publika where its acting president, Datuk Razlan Razali, the CEO of Sepang International Circuit had highlighted that the music festival scene has suffered several major last minute cancellations by authorities since the unfortunate deaths at FMFA last year.
“Last minute event cancellations in Malaysia has happened one too many times with no factual basis, transparency, lack of understanding of the industry by current decision makers, and proper engagement with the organisers and as a result, our members have been left with a negative public image, huge financial losses, and on a bigger perspective, the perception of the Malaysia brand internationally has suffered.
“Malaysia is gearing up for live creative content with this year’s tourism campaign having been branded as ‘The Year of Festivals 2015’.
"The creative content industry including arts, festivals and events are expected to contribute to RM30 billion to Malaysia’s economy by 2020.
"But we cannot even get enough international artistes or content to perform and take place in Malaysia. The government’s vision versus what is happening or being implemented on the ground is not in sync. There is a clear disconnect,” says Datuk Razlan.
Datuk Razlan and ALIFE had proposed that the authorities make changes to the application process, allowing the organisers to be a part of the decision making process and thereby forcing event promoters to ensure that proper standard operating procedures are executed and followed through when organizing an event.
"Let the industry be a part of the decision making process because we believe that Malaysians know how to differentiate and decide for themselves what content they want to consume.
"Malaysians today, particularly the youth are smarter and more exposed and I highly doubt that going to a concert will sway them away from their religion or their belief,” he added.