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PAS: ‘“A good thing” tours are skipping Malaysia’

A spokesman for PAS, a hardline Islamist political party in Malaysia, has welcomed reports suggesting many international pop artists are giving the country a wide berth when routing their tours, saying a dearth of concerts will strengthen the moral fibre of Malaysian youth.

In an extraordinary article for party newspaper Harakah Daily, Riduan Mohamad Nor, a member of the PAS central committee, claims Malaysia’s Muslims are “saving the country” from “wild entertainment” – and that news of the cancellation of shows by Coldplay, Megadeth, Beyoncé, Celine Dion is a victory against the “spreading of the culture of entertainment”, which encourages God-fearing Malaysians to commit adultery, drink alcohol, take drugs, fight each other and indulge in other “vices” forbidden by conservative Islam.

Nor’s intervention comes after Reuters suggested late last year that international stars, “especially those known for risqué lyrics or revealing clothing”, are increasingly unlikely to choose to tour Malaysia.

According to a recent UN report, there is growing pressure for Malaysian Muslims, who make up 62% of the population, to adhere to a rigid, fundamentalist, Arabised version of Islam; consequently, said Darren Choy, chairman of the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia, the country will “not be the first choice for any act to tour” when in south-east Asia.

“Let those who worship international celebrities get their entertainment abroad”

That, writes Nor, is “a good thing especially for the […] the younger generation. We may be viewed negatively by some, but it can protect the society and the country.”

Concert promoters, he continues, “should know that Malaysia is not an entertainment hub.

“Let those who love entertainment, and worshipers of international celebrities, get their entertainment abroad. Go to any south-east Asian country to see those artists, but not in Malaysia.”

PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party), which holds 13 seats in Malaysia’s 222-seat House of Representatives, was last seen in IQ calling for the cancellation of a show by Selena Gomez, who it described as “too sexy” for Malaysia.


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