Clearer rules for foreign concerts

PUTRAJAYA: Male foreign artistes are not allowed to “cross dress” or dress up like women when performing in Malaysia, according to new government guidelines on concerts and live shows.

This is one of the new rules added to the guidelines by the Central Agency for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (Puspal).

Another new rule is this: Large-scale concerts and live performances by international acts are not allowed to be held on the night before Islamic public holidays and on the actual date of such occasions.“This is unless it is allowed by the respective Islamic authorities,” read the updated guidelines, as sighted by The Star.

Among the examples of Islamic occasions listed in the guidelines are the entire month of Ramadan, on Awal Muharram, Maulidur Rasul, Isra’ Mikraj, Nisfu Sya’ban, Nuzul Al-Quran, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha.

Foreign artistes are not allowed to hold big concerts and live performances on such days out of respect for the religious events.

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Previously, the 2019 guidelines did not have restrictions on shows on the eve of such occasions and did not specify examples of the religious events, except for the fasting month of Ramadan.

The new guidelines, however, reduced the “blackout dates” for shows during the country’s independence celebration, which includes National Day on Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16.

In the previous guidelines, all open concerts by foreign artistes could not be held throughout the independence month from Aug 25 to Sept 16.

The new rule states that such large-scale shows cannot be held from Aug 30 to 31 and from Sept 15 to 16.

In September last year, it was reported that the government was set to unveil new guidelines by the end of the year for international acts taking the stage in Malaysia.

The updated guidelines were published on the Puspal website on Dec 31 last year.

Most rules were maintained, while some new criteria were added with clearer examples.

There will be continued engagement with stakeholders and a second phase of updates will be introduced to the guidelines, said a ministry official.

“It should be ready by December this year, to be enforced in 2024.

“Among our suggestions are to improve the level of concerts and live performances for the audience.

“We want to spell out a set of standards on what industry players can do to ensure a good experience for concert-goers and spectators such as by having clean and sufficient toilets, proper seating and facilities,” the official said.

“Malaysia is planning to attract more international stars to hold their shows here, and such measures will be introduced later.”

On the criterion prohibiting cross dressing for male foreign acts, the ministry official said: “Malaysia does not discriminate against any international act from coming here.”

“But foreign artistes will have to follow the code of conduct and dress code in the guidelines when they perform on stage in Malaysia,” the official added.

Among others, the updated guidelines have specified that both male and female foreign acts are not allowed to remove any clothing during their performance.

Aside from live performances, the guidelines also govern foreign film crews that are recording content in Malaysia.

One of the new criteria for filming is that the script of such content must not negatively depict any security or enforcement agency in Malaysia such as the police or military forces.

The script must also be reviewed by Puspal for approval before it can proceed to filming.

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