KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today rejected a suggestion to ban or call off the planned Coldplay concert in the Malaysian capital this week, saying the British outfit is among dozens of rock bands that support the Palestinian cause.
Anwar was responding to Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal from Bersatu who asked about a call by Muslim conservatives to ban the concert on grounds that it is “inappropriate”.
“Coldplay is actually among the bands that support Palestine,” Anwar said during the Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat.
"So there is a problem here. I'd like to explain here that even past administrations have greenlit [concerts] before."
Perikatan Nasional (PN), the federal Opposition bloc, and especially its Islamist component PAS, have been pushing for Coldplay’s much-anticipated concert in Kuala Lumpur to be called off.
PN politicians have been linking the upcoming music concert to current affairs in the Middle East in an attempt to portray the Anwar administration as caring less about the plight of Palestinians.
Over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombardment of Gaza since October 7, with over half of them children and women. Israel has also blocked humanitarian aid and crucial supplies like fuel and clean water from reaching Palestinians trapped
PAS leaders in justifying the call to cancel the Coldplay concert said holding a music event while Israeli forces bombard Gaza would distract the public from Palestinian suffering, even as the party had wanted the concert called off months before the latest flare-up between Hamas fighters and Israel — back in May.
Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Luqman Abdullah was among those who supported the call, saying Muslims should not support the concert.
The demand to call off the concert has been met with strong pushback, including from a large number of moderate Muslims.
Anwar said he would discuss the matter with Luqman but did not explain if he would allow the concern to go on. He said there were "other issues" that the government could not "agree with".
"I will discuss with the mufti because there are lobby groups from the Palestinian movement that have approached the foreign minister and my office to ask why we are blocking a music band that supports Palestine from performing," he told the Dewan Rakyat.
"But because this has been raised and there are other issues that we do not agree with, I will discuss it again," the Tambun MP added.