Event management NGO asks govt to allow ‘live’ events in Malaysia with strict SOPs

A taxi drives past a deserted Petaling Street duing the CMCO November 23, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A taxi drives past a deserted Petaling Street duing the CMCO November 23, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — An events and entertainment NGO has pleaded with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to allow industry players to hold events under strict standard operating procedures (SOP) and in a safe manner.

The Arts, Live Festivals and Events Association (ALIFE) said this was part of the effort to save what is left of the entertainment and events industry as more and more “live” event operators, suppliers, crew and support staff are being forced to exit the sector due to the prolonged movement control orders implemented to curb Covid-19.

“While most economic sectors are being allowed to operate under the current conditional movement control order (CMCO), under strict SOPs endorsed by the National Security Council (NSC), all commercial ‘live’ events, including business events remain restricted,” said its chairman Para R. in a statement.

He said the association stands by the government in its efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, but that it needs them to trust industry players to conduct events in a safe manner under strict health protocols.

“Test events have been conducted and reports show that it can be done, such as a series of test events under the non-profit Live Support initiative at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre,” Para said.

In those instances, each event had a maximum capacity of 250 attendees where strict “live” event SOPs were implemented including ensuring physically-distant seating configuration, temperature scanning, event-specific QR code for the MySejahtera app, and staggered entry and exit protocols.

ALIFE has also sent an official request to the relevant ministries, in which it recommended that ‘commercial’ “live” events should be acknowledged as commercial business activity and not be considered social gatherings.

“Ticketed ‘live’ events or business events that require pre-registrations are operated in a controlled-environment as opposed to public or social gatherings.

“A tiered SOP including a detailed Enhanced SOP for the ‘live’ events industry can ensure the continuity of this sector under the different phases of the MCOs implemented by the government,” he said.

Para also called for clearer communications between the various agencies involved in approving and licensing commercial “live” events and business events.

“There is clearly a disconnect between the federal authority and local, state approving bodies related to the process of submitting approvals for a commercial ‘live’ event, and ultimately obtaining an approval,” he said.

The chairman said the majority of ALIFE members have built their business out of sheer hard work in an environment generally seen as challenging even under normal circumstances.

“But their determination in creating a vibrant ‘live’ events ecosystem and one that contributes to the national GDP should not be ignored.

“While any form of financial assistance and funding remain unclear for the ‘live’ events sector, the ask is only that industry practitioners to be able to resume their business and have some certainty in being able to continue to operate, even if it means starting small all over again,” he said.


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