Merdekarya: Woman in controversial video gave us trouble too, not fair to penalise comedy club

PETALING JAYA: Merdekarya, a popular live music venue here known for open mic nights, has come out in support of the Crackhouse Comedy Club in Kuala Lumpur's suburb of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, saying its suspension by the authorities is wrong.

It also claimed the controversial woman and her partner had once caused trouble for Merdekarya as well, initially having arguments with customers and staff, which eventually spiralled to death threats.

“Merdekarya and Crackhouse KL often organise open mic (events) to discover new local talents.

“Open mic is also the most effective way to give an opportunity to new artists to hone their talents and get stage experience,” it said in a statement on Facebook on Monday (July 11).

ALSO READ: Operations of comedy club in TTDI suspended over offensive video

“We are urging Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to retract Crackhouse’s suspension.”

In open mic events, anyone is welcome to perform music or stand-up comedy, depending on the venue.

Recently, a 54-second video circulated on social media showed a woman claiming to have memorised 15 juz of the Quran and then discarding her tudung and baju kurung, leaving her in a low-cut top and short skirt.

The woman was criticised for her act, and on Saturday (July 9), she and her partner appeared on Youtube to interact with social media users.

ALSO READ: TTDI comedy club operators lodge police report against offensive video

On Sunday (July 10), DBKL announced the suspension of the comedy club pending an investigation of the premises' licence.

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias said the government would not tolerate any activities deemed offensive to sensitivities on religion, race and the country’s sovereignty.

“DBKL has conducted further investigations into the licence of the premises concerned and took immediate action to suspend its operations,” he said in a statement.

ALSO READ: Cops arrest woman seen in controversial stand-up comedy video

Crackhouse Comedy Club House has since strongly condemned the video and lodged a police report over the matter at the TTDI police station.

Aside from Merdekarya, renowned comedians Harith Iskander and Douglas Lim said the woman’s act does not reflect stand-up comedy.

Harith said the actions of the woman were “painful to watch”.

“More importantly, there was nothing funny about what she said or did,” said Harith.

Lim also described the woman’s actions as irresponsible.

“The ‘performer’ (if i can call her that) intended to shock, insult and enrage, and I consider it an act of sabotage by an irresponsible person,” he said in a Facebook posting on July 10.

Veteran actor Datuk Afdlin Shauki Aksan also feels DBKL’s shuttering of the venue was unfair as the incident had occurred during an open mic night.

He also said that venues such as Crackhouse had contributed a lot to the entertainment scene in the country, despite it not being profitable.

“Places like this need to stay open. Crackhouse is a place where many stand-up comedians learnt their art,” he said in a Facebook post.

Police have remanded the woman for three days at the Brickfields police headquarters beginning Sunday (July 10).

The case is being probed by Bukit Aman's Special Investigation Unit under the Penal Code for causing disunity and spurring hatred among the people. as well as under the Communications and Multimedia Act for misusing network facilities.

The Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) conducted its own preliminary investigation into the viral video, which allegedly insulted Islam.

Jawi director Datuk Mohd Ajib Ismail said the investigation was carried out by its enforcement division.

Under the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997, those found guilty of insulting or causing contempt against Islam can be fined up to RM3,000 or imprisoned for up to two years, or both.

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