Angkasa Space owner and music industry representatives meet minister’s secretary over gig venue closure

A fundraiser for the shuttered venue will take place in Kuala Lumpur on August 20, with 18 acts tipped to perform

The owner of Kuala Lumpur gig venue Angkasa Space has met with the secretary to the Malaysian Minister of Federal Territories over the closure of independent gig venue this past weekend.

Angkasa Space was preparing to host a hip-hop show on Sunday (July 24) when it was shut down without warning and sealed off by authorities. Venue owner Mohd Zulhelmie Zullifan​, also known as Elmi, later explained that its hall license had expired. He said at the time that Angkasa Space would remain closed for good, citing the prohibitive cost of applying for an entertainment license.

Yesterday (July 26), Elmi met with Mohamed Nizham Abdullah Hamidi, the Senior Secretary of Federal Territories Minister Dato’ Seri Shahidan Kassim, to discuss the closure. He was accompanied by members of the Angkasa Space team, music industry veteran Jennifer Thompson, the musician Leaism, Late Night Frequency frontman Moja and others.

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Elmi told Getaran afterward that “in the meeting it was clarified that DBKL [Kuala Lumpur City Hall] should have sent two warning notices in advance before coming to seize the venue. However, as it is a new procedure, it has not actually been implemented [by DBKL].”

Elmi also said that he told the secretary that the license structures for venues should be revised. “There need to be categories because there are a lot of venues that are art venues and not commercial ones, like us,” he said.

“We hope DBKL will give us a chance as this was our first offence. We also hope they will reconsider the price of the license so that smaller art communities will be able to apply for one at a right and cheaper price.”

In an official statement to Buzzkini on July 25, DBKL said that Angkasa Space’s license had expired on September 25, 2021. After investigating and confirming that entertainment activities without a license were ongoing at the venue, the city hall began its operation at 7:30PM on July 24, finding roughly 80 gig-goers in the space.

DBKL said that it seized a DJ deck from the venue. The case has since been filed under Sections 4 (1)(a) and 4(1)(b) of the 1992 Entertainment Act (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) for “opening and holding Entertainment Activities (DJ) Without License from DBKL”.

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The shock closure of Angkasa Space prompted outcry from many artists, industry figures and fans in the Malaysian music scene, some of whom criticised the lack of support from the authorities for underground and indie music.

The independent music community has pulled together quickly in the face of the Angkasa Space closure, with gig organisers Atas Angin announcing they will be holding a fundraiser in Kuala Lumpur on August 20 with the help of fellow organisers Freshtown Records and Luas. A total of 18 acts have been tipped to join the line-up, with full details coming this Sunday.

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