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Kelantan refuses to lift mak yong ban


ianm@thestar.com.my 

KOTA BARU: Despite being recognised by Unesco as a world heritage, public performances of the mak yong dance will continue to be banned in its home state of Kelantan. 

State Culture Committee chairman Datuk Anuar Tan Abdullah said the dance could only be performed in private. 

“It is only for foreign tourists and for those conducting research, not for local residents or local Muslims,” he said in an interview. 

In 2005, Unesco recognised mak yong as one of the oldest performing arts in the world. With the recognition, the international body is providing funding for its preservation and promotion. 

Kelantan's PAS government, however, had banned its performance because it said elements of the dance bordered on fantasy and pre-Islam ancient beliefs. 

“Such elements are said to be unsuitable for a Muslim audience,” Anuar said. 

He said the state was willing to organise private shows for tourists if there was a demand.  

Kelantan's continued ban has not gone down well with several mak yong performers who had hoped that with Visit Malaysia 2007, it would allow the dance theatre to be performed in public.  

   

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