Malaysia’s Arts, Live Festival and Events Association (ALIFE) has called on the country’s government not to politicise concerts amid visa controversy.
The plea comes following the Loy Krathong Festival in Kelantan, which did not adhere to rules stating international acts must be approved by the Central Committee for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artists (PUSPAL).
It is a requirement that every concert with international performers to obtain a permit from PUSPAL.
Despite this, the Kelantan event had unauthorised artists from Thailand which ALIFE claims undermines the importance of adherence to regulatory processes.
“It’s better for politicians to redirect their focus to more pressing issues that will enhance the well-being of all Malaysians, irrespective of their racial and religious backgrounds,” said Kamal.
“Concerts have the unique ability to bring people together, fostering unity and understanding among diverse communities. The recent attacks on concerts not only creates division among non-muslims and muslims, but between muslims as well.”
The Loy Krathong Festival is a religious event that aims to pay respects to the goddess of water and Buddha.
However, ALIFE states that it was politicised by the government who ensured the PUSPAL rules were bypassed.
“I would like to stress the transformative impact of live music events on our society,” said ALIFE vice-president Iqbal Ameer.
“However, it is equally crucial that organisers ensure proper permits. Beyond this, it’s disheartening to witness concerts being politicised. The government must refrain from using these events as political tactics and redirect focus to pressing national issues.
“Concerts have the power to unite diverse communities; let’s prioritise issues that enhance the well-being of all Malaysians, fostering a harmonious and prosperous nation.”
PUSPAL reviewed its international artist approval following The 1975 set at the Good Vibes festival in July. The band’s frontman Matty Healy criticised the Malaysian Government for their anti-LGBTQ+ laws before kissing bandmate Ross MacDonald.
The following day it was announced that the rest of the festival had been cancelled as a result.