Petro Viet­nam ex-chair­man found guilty, sen­tenced to die

The Jakarta Post - - FRONT PAGE -

MALAYSIA: In­ter­na­tional or­ga­niz­ers of pop con­certs and some other big events are in­creas­ingly wary of in­clud­ing Malaysia on their itin­er­ar­ies, as the can­cel­la­tion of a beer fes­ti­val that was to take place next month high­lighted grow­ing in­tol­er­ance to­ward ac­tiv­i­ties re­garded as in­sult­ing to Is­lam by some Mus­lim groups.

The pro­mot­ers say that in­ter­na­tional mu­sic stars, es­pe­cially those known for risqué lyrics or re­veal­ing cloth­ing, are un­likely to be brought to Malaysia as part of re­gional or global tours. The same goes for any gath­er­ings that could in any way be deemed un-Is­lamic.

While such con­cerns have been build­ing for some time in this ma­jor­ity Sunni Mus­lim na­tion, the or­ga­niz­ers say that the at­mos­phere has be­come par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult in the past year.

The politi­ciza­tion of Is­lam has in­creased as Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak’s rul­ing party seeks to ap­pease the more fun­da­men­tal­ist el­e­ments to se­cure its large, ru­ral Malay vote bank ahead of an elec­tion ex­pected in the com­ing months. A United Na­tions cul­tural rights ex­pert warned in a re­port last week that there is grow­ing pres­sure to adopt a nar­row in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Is­lamic re­li­gion and iden­tity in Malaysia.

“Of course it does af­fect the over­all at­trac­tive­ness of Malaysia be­ing a venue for artists, events, or fes­ti­vals to be held. With artists’ tour­ing of South­east Asia, Malaysia will not be the first choice for any act to tour,” said Dar­ren Choy, the chair­man of the Record­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia who also heads the Malaysian unit of Amer­i­can en­ter­tain­ment and record la­bel group Warner Mu­sic. “It may end up be­ing the last to be con­sid­ered, or not at all,” he added. — Reuters

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