New Rules: Guidelines for international acts to reflect “sensitivities” of Malaysian public

Billie Eilish performing at the Bukit Jalil Stadium last month/ Photo: Coconuts KL
Billie Eilish performing at the Bukit Jalil Stadium last month/ Photo: Coconuts KL

Malaysia will consider all sensitivities of the Malaysian public in drawing up its guidelines for concert organisers bringing in international acts, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry’s secretary-general Mohammed Mentek said yesterday

“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 present situations and trends,” he said.

He said the guidelines are expected to be ready by the end of the year. However, that seems a little bit late considering the country has already hosted artists such as Billie Eilish last month and will be seeing Justin Bieber next month. 

The news comes after the Malaysian Islamic Party’s (PAS) youth wing threatened to stage protests if the government didn’t call off all scheduled performances by foreign artists. 

Ahmad Fadhli, who is also the Pasir Mas MP, made the remark after Billie’s performance on August 18. He urged individuals and non-governmental organisations who share the same view to “rise together” and stop what he termed the slow creep of “hedonism” into society. 

We can only hope that the ministry acts independently and freely from the views of PAS’ youth wing. This is not the first time the Islamist party has voiced opposition to concerts being held in the country. In 2016, it called for a Selena Gomez concert to be banned, alleging it promoted “Western culture and hedonism”.

Meanwhile, a new system will handle the procedure for requesting licenses for foreign performers and foreign film crews, which is expected to be operational by the end of 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,” he added.

Mohammed said K-KOMM hopes to make Malaysia a destination for foreign film and will produce a guidebook to be distributed worldwide to promote Malaysia as a film destination.

All performances by foreign artists in Malaysia must adhere to Puspal regulations. These regulations include requirements for event organisers and a code of conduct for performers, including how they should dress and act on stage.

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