Jakim guidelines can damage industry, say stakeholders

Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer said Formula One concerts in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi did not have crowd segregation. — Reuters pic
Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer said Formula One concerts in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi did not have crowd segregation. — Reuters pic

PETALING JAYA, April 19 — Stakeholders of the live performances and concerts industry say the Malaysian Islamic Development Department’s (Jakim) guidelines for live entertainment are unrealistic and could damage the industry.

Arts, Live Festival and Events Association (ALIFE) acting president Datuk Razlan Razali said he was shocked, as it would affect live performances in Malaysia if the guidelines were enforced. 

“This is an ad hoc and knee-jerk reaction. It’s taking us 10 steps backwards,” he said. 

“They didn’t take into account the industry or stakeholders. We were not consulted or involved in any way.”

ALIFE is an organisation promoting live arts and entertainment. 

Razlan said more clarity was needed and he wanted an explanation. 

“We are not sure what the action or penalties will be,” he said. 

“What is the objective of crowd segregation? Does this mean there will soon be segregation at any gathering including weddings? This is not the vision of the country or the PM.”

Razlan, who is attending Irish pop-rock band The Script’s concert today with his wife and child, questioned whether this meant he would have to sit apart from them. 

He challenged Jakim to enforce the guidelines at the concert. 

Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer said Formula One concerts in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi did not have crowd segregation. 

Malaysian Association of Creative Artistes president Datuk Freddie Fernandez echoed the sentiment.

“I wouldn’t go to a concert if I had to be separated from my wife. A concert is a shared experience,” he said.

He said the revision of the guidelines by Jakim was a knee-jerk reaction following the incident of fans hugging a Korean artiste.

“I don’t think if a boy and a girl go to a concert, it will damage their morals. I don’t think the girls who hugged the Korean artiste had their morals damaged.

“As long as the acts are clean, the lyrics are fine, I don’t see how concerts can be a negative influence,” he said.

Concert promotions company PR Worldwide director Anita Baskaran said the guidelines were without clear explanation.

“I understand the sensitivities and that different events have different requirements. The word ‘interaction’ could mean so many things. Clapping hands along with the performer is also interaction. Where do we draw the line?” she asked.

She felt gender segregation was unrealistic, since people go to concerts to enjoy the experience together.

“We don’t separate people in supermarkets or LRT trains. Why do we have to separate people for live entertainment and concerts? They are imposing these guidelines but there is no explanation,” she said.

Although unclear about the implications on organising concerts, they said Jakim was a part of the Central Agency for Application of Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes committee, and had a say in the approval of international concerts.

Fernandez said if Jakim’s guidelines were implemented, it would damage not only the entertainment industry, but also the tourism industry.

“Tourism is an important sector in terms of the economy. Concerts are a big source of attracting tourists and creating a friendly image of Malaysia,” he said.

“We respect Jakim’s right to make these rules, but we have to take into account the multiracial nature of this country.”

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