New Rules for Entertainers

April 18, 2015

COMMENT: My comment is short and simple. Just don’t come to Malaysia. Your Malaysian fans can go to Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, where the government is liberal and open minded. They can take the plane,train or bus to see you.

Visit Malaysia 2015Forget about Visit Malaysia, the Land of Endless Celebrations, Mr Tourism Minister, Dato Seri Nazri Aziz, because JAKIM, a unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, is sabotaging your efforts. It is sad that the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, is not cooperating  with you by allowing this to happen. Maybe Najib is too preoccupied with his own political survival to deal with this ruling and other matters.–Din Merican

New Rules for Entertainers

by Zurairi

Entertainers coming to Malaysia will now have to adhere to new rules prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM), which impose limitations on stage performances, dress and behaviour codes and gender segregation for attendees.

The rules, which were released by the department this week, also stipulate that an artist should not have a criminal record, whether in a Shariah or civil court, and should maintain a “noble personality” and “good morals”, even outside the performance.

During a performance, the artist must “dress decently” in attire that covers their “aurat”, which refers to the “intimate body parts” that Muslims must cover with clothing. Performances, songs, events and music videos must not insult religious sensitivities, the nation and any race, while the use of any symbolism that go against Islamic teachings and faith is also forbidden.

For stage performances, JAKIM insists that jokes told should be “sparing”, must “toe the line”, and should not lead to “extreme laughter”. Entertainers are also forbidden from making light of “serious and mournful matters”.Meanwhile, song lyrics should contain “goodness and pure values”, in addition to “bringing awareness” and “leading to repentance”.

The music accompanying the lyrics, on the other hand, should “motivate positive atmosphere” and “bring peace”, instead of evoking “negative emotions that contradict Islamic teachings”.Finally, the rules also ban interaction between men and women attendees of any performance.

The new guidelines were drafted last year but were only approved in the 107th convention of the National Fatwa Committee on February 10 and 11 this year, and superseded the first version which was published in 2007.

The previous guidelines, which included none of the abovementioned rules, were focused on prohibiting elements of vice and idolatry in performances, in addition to ensuring that entertainment events “benefit the well-being of the public”.

According to JAKIM, the new list is meant to assist the authorities in ensuring that entertainment programmes are based on the Islamic faith and codes, and moral values.

Although the guidelines are not considered as binding law, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, had in January, advised approving authorities to remind event organisers to adhere to the list made by Jakim.

The new guidelines also specify that any entertainment events must be referred to the authorities for guidance.

Following a controversial mini-concert featuring South Korean band B1A4 which saw three-tudung clad Malay fans hugging on stage, Jakim had said that the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi) was empowered to act on the organisers as it was under its jurisdiction.

“Did all the agencies and the organiser of the event take heed of this guideline? This concert was not referred to JAKIM, in fact JAKIM had no idea about the event,” said JAKIM Director-General Datuk Othman Mustapha.

Dame Shirley Bassey at The BBC

March 21, 2015

Your Weekend Entertainment –Dame Shirley Bassey at The BBC

We all have been through a lot this whole week and the week before. We have wtinessed the passing of the Hudud Bill (with amendments) by PAS and UMNO politicians at the Kelantan state assembly. They did it for purely political reasons. We read that at LIMA 2015, our beloved Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has bought himself a new toy which will fly him and his consort around the world, costing nearly half billion ringgit at our expense. The Police continues to arrest and persecute opposition politicians like Nurul Izzah, Rafizi Ramli while in our homes, we are not secure from night raiders who will rob us clean when we are less vigilant.


The 1MDB scandal continues with the Auditor-General in action while attempts to divert our attention from this mother of scandals continues unabated. On April 1, GST comes into effect leaving citizens burdened with the rise in the cost of living. So far, we know taxi, bus and train fares have gone up. We are sure  that  the prices of tosai, chapati, roti canai and tea tarik will rise as well, and we know salaries have not increased.

Let us put all that behind us at least momentarily and take a break.  We hope will enjoy the company of  the incomparable Dame Shirley Bassey who sings with such emotion and virtuosity.– Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Weekend Entertainment–Barry Manilow: My Dream Duets

March 7, 2015

Your Weekend Entertainment–Barry Manilow: My Dream Duets

A. Kam DDM

For this weekend, Dr. Kamsiah and I are pleased to share  Barry Manilow’s latest release titled  Barry Manilow: My Dream Duets with you. With technology, imagination and creativity, Singer-Composer-Arranger, Barry is able to “sing” with singers long gone. Listen him do that with Mama Cass Ellioit, Whitney Houston, John Denver, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, and others. Enjoy yourself with this album. –Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican


ASTRO: Customer Unfriendly Cable TV Network

February 27, 2015

ASTRO: Customer Unfriendly Cable TV Network

by Marion Tharsis (02-26-15)


Today, ASTRO enjoys an unwavering dominance of the cable television network  in Malaysia. Consequently, we have to follow, and accept, any implementation changes to their existing packages whenever they feel like doing it.

They no longer have the courtesy to call you to seek your acceptance or offer any explanation as why these changes need to be implemented.Their current trend of operation is, just splash the news about imminent changes on television and expect us to ‘swallow’ it.Call their customer service and you will get a ‘dumb’ reply.

I just want to highlight two recent encounters that I have been subjected to. Firstly,Ananda Krishnan ASTRO increased its high-definition channels that are included in the package I subscribe to. By doing so, I have to pay more without any consent of mine or prior formal advisory. Secondly, out of the blue, ASTRO splashed a news banner on television to advise all Sports Package subscribers that the Golf Channel will no longer be included in this package, effective February 26, 2015. Pay more – if you want channel back!

And if we wish to view this popular sport, we have to pay for it as and when we want it. Here again it, this was done without any formal advice or consultation with the subscriber.One if the main reasons why I subscribe to the Sports Package is because of this Golf Channel and now I am deprived of it.

Want it back, I have to pay more – which I think is absurd and ridiculous. Logically speaking, the cost of this package should be reduced, but this is not the case. You still pay the same amount. But then again, if monopoly exists, then we are ‘slaves’ to it, without any other choice.

I am sure there are other cable television operators who want to establish their networks in Malaysia and I think they should be given an opportunity to do so, just to allow some competition and break this monopoly.

Otherwise, ASTRO will get bolder, and change and implement according to its whims and fancies, without due respect or concern for the subscribers. As it is, we are given channels that are of no use to us, but ASTRO says it is “under the package” and you have to accept it. What a rip-off!

Malaysia sets new world record for sedition

February 20, 2015

Malaysia sets new world record for sedition

by Dr. Lim Teck

SATIRE Malaysian authorities at a special press conference yesterday announced they were submitting to the Guinness Book of World Records for initiating the most number of seditious cases in the world on a per capita basis.

The authorities also informed media representatives that, besides the per capita record, Malaysia was also going for the record for the most number of categories in which sedition charges could be leveled.

Although constitutional and legal constraints stood in the way of extending the country’s record, its leading legal official was confident that it can easily be overcome. His confidence came from two sources. Firstly, the Prime Minister’s Department is adding 20,000 special officers to the present squad of ‘sedition busters’. These officers will be recruited to work in universities, religious establishments and other prominent fertile breeding grounds for sedition.

He himself will also personally take part in a road show throughout the country to share the sordid details of how a new generation of seditionists is plotting to destroy the moral, religious, and socio-political fabric of the country.

Record outburst

According to the national news agency, McJibby – surreptitiously and seditiously referred to by the opposition as McJibberish – the announcement has prompted an outburst of pride and patriotism from the Malaysian public.

The agency noted that one response which has gone viral has argued that the new categories of sedition such as ‘disloyalty to the ruling party'; ‘making fun of the Prime Minister and his associates’, ‘harboring oppositional sentiments’, ‘subjecting the handbag to be an object of ridicule’ would restore our esteemed standing in the ASEAN region.

Referring to a neighbouring country where the conventional charge of ‘insulting king and country’ has figured prominently in the international media, the Tweeter chortled, “It’s sweet revenge for all the times you have beaten us in sepak takraw; take that T……d”

Among those congratulating our authorities was the former Prime Minister whose role in establishing the solid foundations of authoritarism in the country has been widely acknowledged. ‘Bapa Sedition’, typically though, warned the country’s present leaders not to be over-complacent in this key issue. “Numbers do not count; the important thing is results. Make sure that the charges stick,” he emphasised.

Support for the record-setting achievement has also come from the private sector.  A spokesperson from a prominent public relations firm has announced that the firm will be placing advertisements in the print media on the new record as soon as it is certified by the Guinness authorities.

Authoritarian role model

A leading Malaysian IT company has also disclosed that it has been involved in a hush-hush joint venture with 1MCB to invest in new technology aimed at retrieving and decoding hand phone messages – currently a popular channel for seditious content.

“The market for this technology is enormous and Malaysia can be the game changer as well as role model for authoritarian governments all over the world”, the spokesperson claimed.

The chairperson of the Malaysian Chamber of Big Business (MCBB) has applauded the Government’s achievement and termed it “painful but necessary”.

It expected the country’s GDP growth to shoot up once the record was verified. It also noted that there were hundreds of billions of ringgit sitting in bank accounts overseas waiting to come back to the country should the anti-sedition drive succeed.

There have been two dissenting voices so far. The pro-sedition NGO, PerKasar, said that the crackdown by authorities did not go far enough. It noted that  “[Human] rights, liberty and justice” are dirty words imported from the West.

“The Federal Constitution is the most dangerous pro-sedition document. We have to throw it out and start our history all over again”.   Meanwhile, religious columnist R Irwan Kopi has criticised the move to apply to the Guinness authorities for the record achievement.

Noting that Guinness is associated with a sinful drink, he urged instead the incorporation of the record into the government’s latest weapon of conformist behaviour, the Syariah Index.

He has also proposed some new categories for behaviour that can be categorised as “seditious”. “What about clothing behaviour? Display by women of their bodies is the most under-rated seditious activity in any wannabe Islamic country”.

DR LIM TECK GHEE is former World Bank senior social scientist, whose report on bumiputera equity when he was Director of ASLI’s Centre for Public Policy Studies sparked controversy in 2006. He is now CEO of the Centre for Policy Initiatives.