Censorship issue in Malaysia is a long-term subject that has become more apparent in its effort to adapt to current affairs. Malaysia has constantly made international news for banning concerts of various mega superstars due to the strict rules that need to be adhered to by the performers.
In the past decades, a number of mega superstars and celebrities have either been banned from performing or simply decided to cancel their concerts and shows due to many restrictions imposed from various authorities. Entertainers who have tried performing in Malaysia have either been banned or pulled out at the last minute due to clothing restrictions.
Here are 10 most controversial concerts and the different points of views that have banned multiple world class artists from performing in Malaysia.
1. 1990- LaToya Jackson
- The Department of Culture of the Ministry of Tourism had withdrawn permission for the band after discovering that LaToya had once posed half-naked in Playboy magazine in 1989. Atlantic Starr then decided not to include Malaysia in its tour schedule after the incident.
- The “Kent Night of Nights Concert” proceeded without LaToya Jackson and Atlantic Starr. Their performance was replaced by local bands and a performer from America, Fratband.
2. 1996- Michael Jackson
- During Michael Jackson’s “History World Tour” in Malaysia in 1996, he was pressured to adjust his trademark castrato move (the crotch grab) to something more likeable and agreeable in the eyes of religious authorities. The Selangor government had refused to give a permit to Michael Jackson, fearing that the hip-thrusting dance movement would have a bad effect on the youngsters.
- Michael Jackson then performed a 2-day concert at Stadium Merdeka Kuala Lumpur to sell out shows. The second concert date was an extension show due to overwhelming requests from the fans.
3. 2003- Linkin Park
- American rock band Linkin Park was told to refrain from wearing shorts while performing. The religious and political authorities had expressed disapproval for the rock band, fearing that their wild actions on stage would have a bad effect on the country’s youth.
- Linkin Park upon agreeing to the terms set, then received permission from the government to perform in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The hard rock band, however, was not allowed to scream, jump around or wear shorts onstage.
4. 2004- Mariah Carey
- Local religious and political groups claimed that the pop diva’s attire and overall performance style did not suit the local audience. Leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) youth representative had written a letter to the government saying Mariah Carey promoted un-Islamic principles.
- The superstar was asked to cover up for her concert at Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur. Mariah Carey agreed to the rule and opted for jeans and a tank top for her entire Malaysian concert on 20th February 2004.
5. 2007- Beyonce
- Local religious and political authorities had urged Beyonce to adhere to the strict dress-code and guidelines during performances. The thing is, no one tells Queen Bey what to do.
- Beyonce cancelled the show and went on to Indonesia instead. Our loss, their gain…
6. 2008- Inul Daratista
- The Indonesian dangdut queen was condemned by the religious authorities for her trademark “goyang ngebor” (drill gyration). The condemnation had led to the cancellations of her shows in Malaysia as the authorities specifically cited Inul’s dance as lewd and immoral.
- Ultimately, her initial consent to perform in Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur was revoked by the authorities and her shows got cancelled.
7. 2008- Avril Lavigne
- Canadian rock singer Avril Lavigne was almost banned from performing in Malaysia. The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party had urged for her concert cancellation due to her in-your-face attitude that was deemed too provocative for Malaysia’s teenage audience.
- The concert went on as scheduled eventually as the rock star adhered to the strict regulations.
8. 2009- Rihanna
- The Pan-Malaysian Islamic party (PAS) had urged the authorities not to issue a permit for Rihanna to perform as they deemed her revealing outfits and suggestive dance moves featured in the show were an insult to local cultures and values.
- Rihanna agreed to steer clear of provocative clothes for her Malaysia concert. Her show was eventually postponed due to Rihanna’s personal reasons.
9. 2010- Adam Lambert
- Malaysia’s Islamist opposition party had demanded the authorities to cancel a concert planned by U.S. glam rocker Adam Lambert that they considered promoting “gay culture” in the majority Muslim state. “Adam Lambert’s concerts … are outrageous, with lewd dancing and a gay performance that includes kissing male dancers, this is not good for people in our country,” said PAS Youth Leader Nasrudin Hassan.
- Adam Lambert’s scheduled concert was given the green light amid mild protests from fundamental Muslims pertaining issues of his sexuality. The singer also agreed to make minor adjustments in his performance that suited local sensibilities.
10. 2016- Selena Gomez
- The Islamist opposition party, PAS once again targeted another artist, Selena Gomez for disapprobation. According to The Star, PAS Youth’s dakwah committee had claimed that Gomez’s provocative appearance would taint the sacredness of the month of Syawal. The committee had called for disapproval over Selena Gomez’s “The Revival Tour” concert as they deemed the concert would further promote hedonistic cultures among the nation’s youths.
- Selena Gomez was then allowed to perform in the country, but only after ensuring that she would cover up and dress according to the guidelines provided by the authorities.
Did you manage to attend any of the aforementioned concerts?