Organizers of pop concerts and some other big events are increasingly wary of including Malaysia on their itineraries due to growing intolerance toward activities regarded as insulting to Islam by some Muslim groups.
The promoters say that
international music stars, especially those known for risque lyrics or revealing clothing, are unlikely to be brought to Malaysia as part of regional or global tours. The same goes for any gatherings that could in any way be deemed un-Islamic.
United Nations cultural rights expert warned in a report last week that there is growing pressure to adopt a more narrow interpretation of the Islamic religion and identity in Malaysia, which excludes the country's cross-cultural history, marginalizes
religious minorities, and fails to take account of the diversity of Malay Muslims.
Islamic authorities have set new censorship rules for stage shows and music concerts by foreign personalities.
The new rules set out what kind of personality is required, what kind of artistes may perform, the kind of jokes to be allowed, and forbids
extreme laughter or being facetious about serious and mournful matters.
An artiste should have a noble personality and be of good morals, and be dressed decently, covering their aurat. Men and women are now
not allowed to interact on stage.
Performances, songs, events and music videos must not insult religious sensitivities, the country and any racial group. Symbolism that went against Islamic teachings and faith was forbidden. Jokes should be
sparing, and "toe the line".
Only virtues such as "goodness and pure values , and repentance should be promoted in song lyrics, with music that was positive, bringing peace, and not evoking negative emotions that
contradict Islamic teachings.
The rules were relased by Jakim, the federal Islamic affairs department, which has religious authority in the Federal Territories. The new rules were approved by a national fatwa convention in February.
are not binding in law but federal Islamic affairs minister Jamil Khir Baharom had previously said that approving authorities were advised to ask event organisers to abide by Jakim's rules.
Malaysia has banned the Ke$ha from performing in Kuaka Lumpur.
The singer claims that authorities in the country banned her because of fears her explicit lyrics would upset muslim cultural sensitivities.
Ke$ha tweeted to her fans:
to be clear. I did NOT cancel. I was not allowed to play. and then I was going to play anyways and was threatened with imprisonment.
A Ministry of Communications and Multimedia spokesman said it was a
unanimous decision to cancel the gig because it touched on religious sensitivities and Malaysian values but did not elaborate further.
A US metal band has been barred from performing in Malaysia, after officials claim the group would infringe the country's religious sensitivities. The Communications and Multimedia Ministry refused to grant the band a permit.
Last week, the
Department of Islamic Development also objected to the group's performance, claiming that the music the group performed mixed metal songs with verses from the Koran.
In a statement Lamb of God said:
invite anyone offended by our music to engage in a discussion regarding the true motivations behind our work, especially before publicly slandering us based on assumptions and shallow misinterpretation.
Malaysia has banned a Singaporean dance company from performing ballet in Kuala Lumpur because of their indecent tutus and tights, The Malaysian Insider reported.
The censors from Puspal or the Central Agency for the Application for Filming
and Performance by Foreign Artists work for Malaysia's Information Communication and Culture Ministry.
Bilqis Hijjas, president of a Malaysian dance group called MyDance Alliance, said the decision by Puspal against the Singapore Dance Theatre was
deplorable and would hurt Malaysia's reputation as a reliable host for cultural shows, The Malaysian Insider stated. She said:
KLPac is a private business on private ground with paying audiences who were well
aware of what they were coming to see and not one of whom would have been distressed by the costumes.
She noted that the women's costumes featured long skirts except for dancers in The Nutcracker who would have worn the same short
classical tutus and tights that have been used since ballet dancers performed before the Russian tsars in the 1870s.
Bilqis pointed out that the arts were also a business and that Puspal's decision would create enormous doubt among
international investors causing them to bypass Malaysia as a venue for world-class performers.
Bilqis said she hoped the show would be allowed to go on with better leadership from the ministry as it was an act that would raise its prestige
as an open and consistent incubator of the arts.
Members of an Islamic party have called on Malaysia to ban a concert by Elton John, claiming that the gay singer promotes hedonism .
Shahril Azman Abdul Halim Al-Hafiz, an official with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), said the
concert at the Genting Highlands resort on Nov. 22 would corrupt young Muslims because of John's homosexuality: It's not good. In Islam homosexuality is forbidden . What he is doing is hedonism. Hedonism is not good in Islam. Shahril is the
chairman of the PAS youth wing of eastern Pahang state.
But the show, part of John's Greatest Hits Tour , is expected to go ahead in the resort.
PAS often protests concert by Western acts, saying the artists promote a
promiscuous lifestyle and corrupt youngsters' minds. But despite protest threats, most concerts have gone ahead without incidents.
The openly gay, flamboyant rocker Adam Lambert kept his promise to Malaysia’s government and steered clear of sexually provocative moves at a concert that was protested by dozens of Islamic activists.
Last week, Lambert wrote on Twitter that
while he did not believe his shows were in any way offensive I have agreed to make a few minor adjustments out of respect for the Malaysian government. Looking forward to a fun show.
Lambert, an American Idol runner-up, is well-known
for racy performances. At the American Music Awards last year, he kissed a male keyboard player.
The Malaysian government has reversed a ban on Muslims attending a concert by the Black Eyed Peas in Kuala Lumpur.
Officials had imposed the ban because the show is being sponsored by Irish beer giant Guinness.
A culture ministry
official said the ban was lifted late last week but did not give any further details as to why.
Government regulations forbid alcohol firms from organising public concerts, but the Black Eyed Peas gig had been allowed in order to boost tourism.
Muslims account for nearly 60% of Malaysia's 27 million people and they are barred from consuming alcohol under threat of a jail, a fine and a caning. This applies also to muslim visitors from other countries.
Malaysian Muslims will not be allowed to attend a concert in Kuala Lumpur next month by US hip-hop stars the Black Eyed Peas , officials say.
The ban is over the show's sponsorship by Irish beer giant Guinness, as part of its 250th
Guinness will not be allowed to sell its famous black stout at the event or use its logo in publicity material.
Malaysia's majority Malays are subject to Islamic laws, while the large Chinese and Indian
minorities are not.
The website for the Black Eyed Peas' event asks: Are you a non-Muslim aged 18 years and above? , and bars access if the answer is no.
Previous pop concerts, including one by the Black Eyed Peas in 2007, have
been open to Muslims.
Officials at the Culture Ministry said the show would not normally have been approved because of the connection with alcohol, but ministers let it go ahead in the hope that it would boost tourism, says the BBC's Robin Brant
in Kuala Lumpur.
The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) is demanding that authorities ban R&B star Rihanna’s concert to be held in Kuala Lumpur on 13 February.
PAS alleges that her revealing outfits and suggestive dance moves are an insult to Asian
values and outrage local cultural mores.
According to Kamaruzaman Mohammad, a leader of the youth wing of PAS claimed that attending the concert is a form of support for Israel: Whether Rihanna realises it or not, we know that the taxes
she paid also contributed to the war in Gaza .