PUTRAJAYA - Male foreign artistes will not be 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 guidelines by the Central Agency for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (Puspal), as seen by Malaysian daily The Star.
Another new rule is that large-scale concerts and live performances by international acts will be barred from being held on the night before and actual days of Islamic public holidays unless permitted by the “respective Islamic authorities”.
Among the examples of Islamic occasions listed in the guidelines are the entire fasting month of Ramadan, the Islamic New Year or Awal Muharram and Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Foreign artistes will not be allowed to hold big concerts and live performances on such days out of respect for the religious events.
Previously, the guidelines, last updated in 2019, did not have restrictions on shows on the eve of such occasions nor did they specify examples of religious events other than Ramadan.
The new guidelines, however, reduced the number of blackout dates for shows during Malaysia’s independence celebrations, which include National Day on Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16.
In the previous guidelines, all concerts by foreign artistes could not be held throughout the “independence month” from Aug 25 to Sept 16.
New rules state that blackout dates will now be limited to Aug 30 and 31, as well as Sept 15 and 16.
Asked to comment further, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said the updates to the guidelines were made to protect the sensitivities of everybody in Malaysia.
“We have consulted all communities, including Muslims and non-Muslims, in drafting the updated guidelines,” he told The Star.
“At the same time, the guidelines were also amended after receiving feedback from industry players. We agreed to make the guidelines more clearly spelt out so that they can be easily understood.”
The government is expected to unveil these new guidelines for international acts taking the stage in Malaysia by the end of 2023.
Mr Fahmi said there would be continued engagement with stakeholders and a second phase of updates will be introduced to the guidelines.
“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,” he said.
“We want to spell out a set of standards on what industry players can do to ensure a good experience for concertgoers and spectators, such as by having clean and sufficient toilets, proper seating and facilities.”
He added: “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, Mr Fahmi 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 updated guidelines also specify that both male and female foreign acts are not allowed to remove any clothing during their performances.
Aside from live performances, the guidelines also govern foreign film crews 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.
Scripts must also be reviewed and approved by Puspal before they can proceed to filming. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK