20th August 2022 – (Kuala Lumpur) Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS; Malay: Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) Youth chairman Ahmad Fadhli Shaari condemned the holding of concerts in Malaysia yesterday, which the party claims to be happening repetitively.
Local media quoted him as saying, ”The holding of concerts, again and again, is madness and invites Allah’s anger. Stop it.”
In 2013, a planned concert by US pop star Kesha has been banned by Malaysian authorities, who say it would hurt cultural and religious sensitivities. Malaysia also barred a performance by the American heavy metal band Lamb of God after Islamic officials said the Grammy-nominated group’s work was blasphemous.
According to Hype.my, during Michael Jackson’s “History World Tour” in Malaysia in 1996, he was pressured to adjust his trademark castrato move (the crotch grab) to something more likeable and agreeable in the eyes of religious authorities. In 2004, local religious and political groups claimed that the pop diva’s attire and overall performance style did not suit the local audience. Leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) youth representative had written a letter to the government saying Mariah Carey promoted un-Islamic principles. The superstar was asked to cover up for her concert at Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur. Similarly, Canadian rock singer Avril Lavigne was almost banned from performing in Malaysia. The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party had urged for her concert cancellation due to her in-your-face attitude that was deemed too provocative for Malaysia’s teenage audience. In 2010, Malaysia’s Islamist opposition party had demanded the authorities to cancel a concert planned by U.S. glam rocker Adam Lambert that they considered promoting “gay culture” in the majority Muslim state. Adam Lambert’s scheduled concert was given the green light amid mild protests from fundamental Muslims pertaining issues of his sexuality. Even Selena Gomez was not sparred. PAS once again targeted her for disapprobation. In 2016, Selena Gomez was then allowed to perform in the country, but only after ensuring that she would cover up and dress according to the guidelines provided by the authorities.
In 2017, REUTERS reported that concert organisers said that international music stars, especially those known for risqué lyrics or revealing clothing, are unlikely to be brought to Malaysia as part of regional or global tours. The same goes for any gatherings that could in any way be deemed un-Islamic.
In addition, K-pop groups such as NCT 127 and Seventeen deliberately left out Malaysia in their world tour itinerary recently.
PAS is an Islamist political party in Malaysia. PAS’s electoral base is in Peninsular Malaysia‘s rural and conservative north and east coast. The party is a component party of the governing Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition which came to power as a result of the 2020-21 Malaysian political crisis. The party governs either solely or as coalition partners in the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Johor, and Perak. In the past, it was a coalition partner in the state governments of Penang and Selangor as part of the federal opposition between 2008 and 2018. The party currently holds 18 of the 222 seats in the federal Dewan Rakyat and has elected parliamentarians or state assembly members in eight of the country’s 13 states.
From time to time, PAS’s pursuit of an “Islamic state” has involved attempts to legislate for hudud—an Islamic criminal justice system—in the states that it governs. Such laws would apply to all Muslims and would not apply to non-Muslims. PAS-dominated state assemblies in Kelantan and Terengganu passed hudud laws in the early 1990s and early 2000s respectively, although neither has ever been enforced due to opposition from the federal government. PAS returned to its pursuit of hudud laws after the 2013 election, signalling that it would table bills in the federal Parliament to allow the laws, still on the statute books in Kelantan, to be enforced. The bills would require a two-thirds majority in the Parliament as they involve constitutional amendments.
When PAS was defeated in Terengganu, a state in East Coast of Malaysia, enforcement of female dress codes was reduced. The state PAS government in Kelantan bans traditional Malay dance theatres, banned advertisements depicting women who are not fully clothed, and enforced the wearing of headscarves, although they allowed gender segregated cinemas and concerts. Some government-controlled bodies pressure non-Muslims to also wear headscarves, and all students of the International Islamic University of Malaysia and female officers in the Royal Malaysian Police are required to wear headscarves in public ceremonies.
The PAS party wishes that the death penalty be enacted for Muslims who attempt to convert, as part of their ultimate desire to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state. The party is also against the government-backed wave of Anti-Shi’a persecution.