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LETTER | Stop using concerts as political leverage

LETTER | Malaysia’s largest live event organisers are standing together to stop all the politicking that’s happening in the concerts and shows industry.

Event organisers are working hard to support artists, gig workers, and live performance venues and to bring in tourists, in line with the national strategy to ensure the stable economic growth of the country.

“We’ve had enough. Throughout Covid we have been fighting to keep the lights on, and we’ve had many assurances that things will get better and we will get the support we need.

“All these empty promises have not been kept,” said Arts, Live Festivals and Events Association (Alife) chairperson and PR Worldwide founder Para Rajagopal.

PAS has recently called for the cancellation of a number of high-profile concerts by international artists.

According to Persatuan Seniman Malaysia president Zed Zaidi, artists who had passed checks by the Foreign Filming and Performances by Foreign Artistes Application Centre (Puspal) should be permitted to perform in Malaysia because the benefits would boost the local arts industry.

Star Planet chief coordinating officer Carmen Liew asserted that they were simply bringing in outstanding entertainment and boosting tourism.

Event organisers would obtain consent and carefully follow the policies of the relevant authorities before organising an event to ensure that all shows are permitted.

“How are we expected to continue building business in Malaysia if we have rogue governments and individuals making statements that have not been thought of or discussed properly?” said Livescape Group CEO Iqbal Ameer.

This does not reflect well, and all decisions, big or small, should be based on merit and economic benefits.

Alife president Rizal Kamal wants divisive politics stopped as it affects everyone’s well-being.

“Have we forgotten the job creations, cultural impact and tourist arrivals that spurn these events and international shows?

“Have we forgotten that Malaysia is a multicultural country?

“Have we forgotten that we need to trust our rakyat to make their own decisions?”

“We need the rakyat to voice out their concerns and not allow particular groups to dictate what is deemed as appropriate and normal behaviour elsewhere, as hedonistic in Malaysia. Everyone sees this as a political move,” he said.

This country's 'political circus' continues to impact good, honest and hard-working people. Some event organisers are already looking to build their business in neighbouring countries as they are welcomed there instead.

Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia have seen an increase in tourists, attributed primarily to a revival in entertainment, with music festivals such as Creamfields, We The fest, Djakarta Warehouse Project, and Zoukout returning after a three-year hiatus.

ARTS, LIVE FESTIVALS, AND EVENTS ASSOCIATION (ALIFE) works on a non-profit basis to be the guardian and voice of the events and entertainment industry.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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