Ban on social dancing in Terengganu irks MCA


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 05 Aug 2003

By CLARENCE CHUA and NIK NAIZI HUSIN

PETALING JAYA: The decision to ban social dancing by the PAS-led Terengganu government has drawn flak from the MCA leadership who called the move an infringement on the rights of non-Muslims to practise their way of life. 

The MCA leaders also expressed unhappiness over the imposition of stringent guidelines against non-Muslim groups planning to hold cultural dances. 

In describing the move as “narrow minded,” “fanatical” and “an opposition against the Chinese way of life,” MCA vice-president Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said: 

“Non-Muslims believe that it is their right to have social interaction and dancing is a way of life for the Chinese. I am offended by the restriction. 

“The MCA will oppose the move as this is an opposition against our way of life,” he said. 

The criticism came following a recent report that all Chinese cultural dances involving men and women at the state-owned Primula Beach Resort in Terengganu must first obtain approval from the Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council while all forms of disco and social dancing were banned. 

Cultural dances performed there also had to adhere to strict guidelines. 

Kuala Terengganu MCA division chief C.Y. Toh said yesterday that the Chinese in the state found it difficult to rent government community halls due to the council's harsh requirements. 

Wanita MCA head Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen questioned the move yesterday and voiced fears that it could lead to further infringements on the rights of other communities. 

“Some social dancing is a form of cultural promotion. It could be a form of exercise and recreation for everyone. I fear that the move could result in the state government becoming more inward-looking,” she said. 

 

In Rompin, Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said the issue should not be blown out of proportion as the foreign media might use it to give the country a bad image. 

 

He said the foreign media could manipulate the situation and tourists might think the regulation on dancing applied to the entire country. 

 

“If the foreign media were to blow up the matter, we would be at the losing end as the tourists would not know where Kuala Terengganu is,” he said.  

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