Featured News

New rules for international acts in Malaysia 

New rules for international acts performing in Malaysia are set to be revealed by the country’s government by the end of 2023, according to a report.

The guidelines will be modernised and will also take into account all sensitivities of the public in Malaysia, according to Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary general, Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek.

Malaysian news outlet The Star said that the guidelines are being finalised by the committee in the Central Agency of Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (Puspal), which is under the ministry.

Mentek told The Star: “We have actually been working on the new guidelines since 2019 to make them more relevant to the current industry’s needs to keep up to date with the present situation and trends.”

At present, all concerts from international acts must follow these guidelines which include conditions for organisers and a code of ethics for performers detailing how they should dress and behave on stage.

The discussion surrounding concerts from international acts took centre stage recently, with PAS Youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (who is also the Pasir Mas MP) calling on the government to cancel and disallow these events as they encourage hedonism.

PAS Youth – which is an organisation of young professionals – also said it would hold protests at all concerts featuring international acts, as it claims international acts do not comply with the norms and values of Muslims in Malaysia.

Not-for-profit body the Association of Arts, Live International Festivals and Events (Alife) and other event organisers then called on politicians to stop using concerts for political leverage.

Mentek went on to explain that the new system would also handle the application process for permits for performances from international artists, and filming from foreign film crews.

“The system will be able to handle the whole application process for foreign filming and foreign performances from the beginning of the planning stages until the end,” he said.

Alife chairman Para Rajagopal said that he hoped the guidelines will be industry-friendly and continue to aid the entertainment sector’s recovery.

“The live events industry in Malaysia is recovering, but for this year, the total revenue is only expected to reach 50% of pre-pandemic times,” he told The Star.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, combined business and entertainment events contributed almost RM1.2bn (£230m/$270m/€260m) to the economy in 2019. We are projecting that it will at least hit half this number this year (RM600m) and surpass RM1.2bn in 2023.”

Malaysia is not a stranger to international events, as demonstrated by the success of the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak. Over 7,000 tickets were sold while many more watched the live performances online. The festival featured 60 local and international acts from China, Australia, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Canada, the US and more.

Image: Abigail Lynn on Unsplash