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According to a report by MMO, entertainers coming to Malaysia will now have to adhere to new rules prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM), which imposes 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 artiste 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 artiste must “dress decently” in attire that covers their “aurat”, which refers to the “intimate body parts” that Muslims must cover with clothing.

And that’s not all.

SNSD Girls' Generation Sepang F1
SNSD Girls’ Generation at the Sepang F1 Post-Race Concert

Also listed were concert guidelines covering songs, video clips, lyrics, and performances.

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. 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”.

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”.

(Editor: We don’t even know what “extreme laughter” is supposed to mean? Anyone care to discuss this?)

New Entertainment Rules Malaysia

Finally, the rules also ban interaction between men and women attendees of any performance.

According to The Star Online, males and females are to be segregated during concerts. In a section dealing with the organisation of entertainment events, JAKIM said programmes should not allow “mixing of males and females in the audience” or mingling.

The guidelines were drafted last year but were only approved during the 107th National Fatwa Committee Meeting held on 10th and 11th February this year. The 2007 edition listed six guidelines for concerts, and there are 11 in the latest set.

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.

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

B1A4 and K-Pop girl

Following a controversial fanmeeting event featuring South Korean idol boy group B1A4 which saw the idols hugging 3-tudung clad Malay girls 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.

JAKIM director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha commented the incident “shamed Malaysia and the Muslim community”. “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,” he said.

On 2nd April, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the organisers of the controversial B1A4 fanmeeting event, TGM Events, had been blacklisted. Shabery added that enforcement activities with other relevant agencies and local authorities have been improved to avoid the incident from recurring.

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.

Read the concert guidelines on JAKIM’s website here.

Sources: MMO, The Star Online.