Malay songs with English lyrics banned


PETALING JAYA: One of P. Ramlee's classic hits Madu Tiga may end up being banned on RTM due to the Information Ministry's latest ruling which disallows the airing of Malay songs with lyrics that are intertwined with a sprinkling of English words. 

The current batch of songs that have been “taken off the air” include Anita Sarawak's Seksis and Diva, Ruffedge's Tipah Tertipu, Too Phat's Alhamdulillah and KRU's latest song Bade

The ever-popular Madu Tiga song, from the movie of the same name, has got the line “I Love You”. 

Local artistes are upset with the ban imposed by the ministry, which however, does not affect private radio and TV stations as they come under the jurisdiction of the Malaysia Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).  

According to producer and songwriter Norman Halim, the move is both impractical and unfair as it prevents musical creativity and expression. 

He added that it was ironic that the ministry did not impose the same restriction on Malay songs with Arabic chorus lines. 

“It should not practise double standards.  

“Street language is being used liberally in entertainment magazines in the name of entertainment. It should not dabble in selective censorship,” he said. 


Norman said he did not see the logic behind the ban as it did not discredit or disrespect anyone or anything. 


The issue cropped up after Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka (DBP) chided the Information Ministry and MCMC for allowing songs like Seksis and Diva to be aired. 

“If DBP wants to interfere, then it should not upset the industry. We had to use the word Seksis because we could not find a suitable word in Malay to describe the content of the song. It should consider including new words like Seksis in the Malay dictionary,” said Norman. 

“This has been going on for too long. We have to put a stop to this. Entertainment is entertainment. Let it not be regulated. We will not be creative anymore.” 

Karyawan (Malaysian Artistes Association) honorary chairman Zaienal Abidin Omar said the ministry should make it clear what songs were offensive. 

“We have not received anything official on this and I am wondering what it is all about. These might just be temporary restrictions, which have a way of becoming permanent.  

“We have the responsibility to ensure that radio stations, as important public mediums, remain as free and open as we can make them, for the sake of self-expression,” he said. 

“The guideline and procedure of this so-called banning of Malay songs which have English words are still unclear.  

“It threatens to curb the freedom of local artistes but not of foreign artistes. English songs which have vulgar and sexual connotations are allowed almost every day especially in rap songs,” he said. 

He cited a similar case when the song Iboq by Noraniza Idris was banned, only because a single word was not comprehensible.  

But after an explanation, Iboq was aired again. 

Both Zaienal and Norman are scheduled to meet Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir on the matter on May 21. 

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