'Counsel and not punish K pop fans'

KUALA LUMPUR - Counselling and advice are the best options for the teenage girls in the K-pop fiasco as what had happened on stage was spontaneous, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said incidents involving concert audiences often were not planned and punitive measures were not necessary for every unfavourable situation.

"Sometimes, things that we dislike will happen but they should be dealt with by giving advice, not only to the performer but also to those in attendance," he told reporters after launching a new corporate identity for Pos Malaysia yesterday.

"That is the best option. I believe, in Islam, being a preacher is better than being a qadi (a judge) or a punisher."

On Jan 10, several tudung-clad girls were hugged by members of the popular South Korean band B1A4 during a performance here.

A video clip showing the male performers hugging and kissing the girls on stage went viral.

Ahmad Shabery said the issue was not about K-pop music.

"This is about people's action and in this case, it was the audience who got over-excited seeing their idols," he pointed out.

"Someone went up on stage and did something more than she should have as a Muslim. It is not (the fault of) K-pop, rock or jazz," he said.

The case led to tongues wagging on social media for apparent biasness with netizens saying that there were also hugging scenes in local TV dramas.

Responding to that, Ahmad Shabery said advice and education were more important so that the public would know what was right and wrong, what they should watch or not, or what they should emulate.

"To mete out punishment whenever something unpleasant happens would only cause further difficulties," he said.

"If you want to ban such scenes, then you must ban movies (containing the scenes), as well as content on the Internet," he added.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the public should not go overboard in demanding for punishment for the teenage girls involved.

"I am very sure that the girls have felt humiliated enough," he said when contacted. "I can understand that it was a moment of over-excitement and they did something that they shouldn't do.

"In Islam, as much as decency is important to us, what is equally important is forgiveness," Khairy said. "For that, I think we should forgive and ensure that organisers don't allow this kind of things in the future."