Malaysia to implement new concert guidelines that consider local “sensitivities”

The news follows threats of a nationwide protest against concerts by international artists by a local political party

Malaysia is set to implement new concert guidelines for international artists that take into account local “sensitivities”.

In a new report by The Star, Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek revealed that the ministry aims to launch the new guidelines by the end of the year. “We have actually been working on the new guidelines since 2019 to make them more relevant to the current industry’s needs to keep up to date with the present situation and trends,” he told the outlet, adding that the new guidelines would account for the sensitivities of all sectors of the Malaysian public.

No additional details about the guidelines were revealed, but the guidelines are now being finalised by a committee from the Central Agency for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (Puspal).

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He also revealed that a new system to facilitate faster permit applications for international performances and filming is in the works, and is expected to launch sometime in 2023. “The system will be able to handle the whole application process for foreign filming and foreign performances from the beginning of the planning stages until the end,” the secretary said, adding that the ministry is producing a application guidebook promote Malaysia as a destination for filming and concerts.

The Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) political party recently called for a ban on concerts by international artists in the country, threatening nationwide protests if their demands are not met. PAS Youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari called concerts by international artists “incompatible with the norms and values of Malaysian Muslims” following a successful performance by Billie Eillish in Kuala Lumpur on August 18.

The call was largely met with ridicule from the Malaysian public and other political parties, with many pointing out that PAS would be better served focusing on rising inflation.

The party has a long history of protesting concerts in Malaysia by international artists. In 2008, the party made international headlines after calling for a protest against a concert by Avril Lavigne in Kuala Lumpur, before going on to call for a ban against a concert by Beyonce in 2009 two years after successfully getting the singer’s debut concert in the country cancelled under threat of protest alongside other conservative groups.

The party has also issued similar calls in response to concerts by Adam Lambert, Gwen Stefani, Scorpions, Elton John and many more.

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