Najib's son at Zouk: Did new owner Genting step in?

Patrons at Zouk Singapore.
Patrons at Zouk Singapore. PHOTO: ZOUK SINGAPORE

DJ Fila was not asked to end his set early at Zouk on March 6, but he says he was asked to stop playing as Zouk's new owner wanted their VIP guest - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's youngest son Norashman - to play.

In a statement released on Tuesday morning (March 8), DJ Fila, one half of Egyptian trance duo Aly & Fila, reacted to Zouk's claim that he was not asked to end his DJ set prematurely on March 6.

According to the DJ, whose real name is Fadi Wassef Naguib, Zouk's new owner was "hosting a VIP guest", namely Mr Najib's son Norashman.

 

Zouk was acquired by conglomerate Genting Hong Kong (Genting HK) last year for an undisclosed amount. While it is headquartered and listed in Hong Kong, with a secondary listing in Singapore, Genting HK is an affiliate of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, which Genting Singapore is a part of.

In DJ Fila's statement on Facebook, he says he arrived at the club at 1am for an interview and started his set at 1.40am. He also says he was introduced to the "VIP Guest and the new owner of Zouk".

Zouk is now helmed by Mr Lim Keong Hui, Genting Hong Kong's executive director; Mr Andrew Li, the firm's vice-president of lifestyle and food and beverage concepts; and Zouk's former general manager-turned-managing director, Mr Benny Heng. It is not clear which owner hosted the PM's son.

While DJ Fila was contractually obliged to play only from 1.30am to 3.30am, he said that Mr Byden Lian, Zouk's DJ bookings manager, told him that he could "play till the end", that is, finishing at 4.15am and playing "an extra 15 minutes more".

At 3.30am, the DJ said Mr Lian asked him if he was willing to play back-to-back with the VIP guest. DJ Fila refused. "I continued playing then 15 mins after Byden came to me and he told me that I will have to stop as the new owner wants the 'VIP guest' to play," he said.

"I just wanted to let our fans who paid money to see me know the reason why I stopped my set and I didn't play the three hours like every time I have been there."

The Straits Times contacted Zouk to verify Fila's account but the nightspot has yet to respond.

Aly & Fila, who made it to No. 42 on DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs list last year, have played in Zouk several times.

Ms Wong Wei Jean, 27, a Zouk regular who has been going to the club for almost 10 years and was there on March 6, said she went to see DJ Fila because "he's known for playing past his contracted time".

"Most DJs just play for a bit and leave, and there's not really much interaction with the crowd."

She added that she left after DJ Fila left and Norashman took to the decks.

The digital marketer said: "We got a table for Aly & Fila, we didn't get a table to see this VIP play. Who are you to stop people from getting what they paid for?"

Other guest DJs at Zouk, including Danny Tenagalia and Sven Vath, have been known to play past their scheduled set times.

Zouk's former marketing manager Andrew Ing acknowledged that he did not know the exact circumstances of the incident, but said: "I don't think we would have allowed that to happen, at least not under my watch."

Now the chief operating officer of The Lo & Behold Group, Mr Ing, 49, worked at the club for eight years under the charge of former Zouk owner Lincoln Cheng.

In a video posted by Facebook user Derrick Low, DJ Fila was heard telling the crowd: "I will see you somewhere in the future, not in Zouk anymore, because I won't play in Zouk any f***ing more."

He went on to say: "They insulted me, but I love you guys."

Malaysian news website Malaysiakini reported that Rizal Mansor, aide to the Mr Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor, denied that Norashman had asked to perform at Zouk, adding that "he was invited by the club's management to perform as the finishing act due to his turntable skills".

Rizal also said: "Taking into account that it was an acknowledgement of his talent and hobby, Ashman agreed to do the performance."