Outcry over guidelines for live performances

PETALING JAYA - Strict guidelines set by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) for live entertainment have been slammed by show business professionals as being unrealistic and damaging to the industry.

Arts, Live Festival and Events Association acting president Razlan Razali said he was shocked, saying live performances would be affected if the guidelines - which include gender segregation in audiences - were enforced, the Malay Mail Online news site reported yesterday.

"This is an ad hoc and knee-jerk reaction. It's taking us 10 steps backwards," Mr Razlan said, adding that more clarity was needed.

The guidelines come in the wake of a K-pop concert in Kuala Lumpur in January that ruffled Jakim's feathers when videos and images emerged of young Muslim women hugging members of popular boy band B1A4.

Mr Razlan, who was attending Irish pop-rock band The Script's concert with his wife and child yesterday, also questioned whether the gender segregation rule meant that he would have to sit away from his family.

Under Jakim's rules released last week, comedians are not allowed to evoke "extreme laughter" with their jokes, and performers should not have criminal records.

If Jakim's guidelines were implemented, said Malaysian Association of Creative Artistes president Freddie Fernandez, it would damage not only the entertainment business, but also the tourism industry.

"Concerts are a big source in attracting tourists... We respect Jakim's right to make these rules, but we have to take into account the multiracial nature of this country," he said.

This article was first published on April 20, 2015.
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