KUALA TERENGGANU: The PAS government wants a discussion with the Federal Government on what constitutes a public place in view of the ban on performances by women in public places in Terengganu, executive councillor Datuk Mustafa Ali said.
He said whether hotels were regarded as public places was questionable.
“I hope the Federal Government will discuss with us what constitutes a public place or open space so that this issue can be sorted out.
“They should come and discuss with us instead of shunning from discussing whatever issues with us,” he said yesterday.
On an earlier remark by Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Kadir Sheikh Fadzir that the state's move to ban public performances by women was against the constitution as it was the right of Malaysians to sing and dance, Mustafa said he was surprised with the statement since he had already explained the ruling to Kadir last year.
“I represented the state government at the event which was held near the Harbour Master’s office. I informed him that the state government does not allow women to perform on stage. In fact, only men performed at that particular event,” he said.
Parti Keadilan Nasional Youth exco member S. Manickavasagam said Malays should be exposed to Indian cultural performances to foster better cultural ties among the races.
Manickavasagam noted that Ramli Ibrahim was a well-known Indian classical dancer.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the move by Terengganu in banning public singing and dancing in the state could be constitutionally challenged.
He said that on the surface, the move ran foul of the Federal Constitution, particularly Articles 9 and 10 pertaining to freedom of movement and freedom of speech, assembly and association.
“I dare not say that the ban by the Terengganu government goes against the Federal Constitution in totality. But I could envisage a situation where the move can be constitutionally challenged.
“The ban is an indication of the lopsidedness on the part of the Terengganu government in tackling a social amenity and social problems,” he said after attending a meeting with Felda settlers at Felda Lui Barat near Kuala Klawang yesterday.