Minister: No performer wants to come to M’sia if authorities impose too many restrictions

Abdul Karim (fourth right) presents a Service Excellence Award to a recipient while others look on at the ‘Seluhur Kasih Sekalung Budi’ dinner held at the Waterfront Hotel in Kuching on Jan 20, 2023.

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Jan 21: Entertainers would not want to hold concerts in Malaysia due to many restrictions, including dictation on how they should dress, says Sarawak Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said the restrictions sometimes go overboard, resulting in the event management company feeling pressured to fulfil the requirements for the event to be held.

“Take, for example, a music or entertainment event where they placed so many restrictions that they cannot be like this, they cannot be like that (sic).

“I’m not saying that you can sing naked, but then entertainers have their own attire. If you dictate how they should dress, such as that they cannot wear tights, show their legs, and wear revealing clothes, then these entertainers would not be willing to come.

“That is why most entertainers would go to Singapore and other countries, and many Malaysians would travel to Singapore. This means we would lose out too much. Those were among the little things I discussed with (federal) Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh recently,” he said in a press conference during the ‘Seluhur Kasih Sekalung Budi’ dinner held at the Waterfront Hotel last night.

However, Sarawak is a different case where it does not put too many restrictions and has been very supportive of organisers who wish to hold events.

“You take, for example, last year when we organised the (Borneo Music Festival Live 2022) concert by Alan Walker and DJ Soda, I can guarantee you that Kuala Lumpur will never give a permit to this kind of concert, but we have been able to organise it very nicely,” he added.

Abdul Karim speaks during a press conference while Dr Ripin looks on at the ‘Seluhur Kasih Sekalung Budi’ dinner held at the Waterfront Hotel in Kuching on Jan 20, 2023.

Abdul Karim, who is also Sarawak Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development, further commented on the federal Minister of Youth and Sports’s recent statement, which stressed that she and her deputy Adam Adli Abdul Halim do not need excessive protocol at the ministry.

Following this, he said the ‘no excessive protocol’ culture has long been practised in Sarawak, where he does not see or want to see anyone waiting for him during his arrival to work every day.

He also said the same culture applies to the Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, and other ministers.

“With due respect, I do not mean to condemn the federal protocol, but when the ministers arrive at the airport, all the heads of agencies under that ministry would have to be at the airport. In Sarawak, we do not want to see something like that.

“However, it is the Eastern culture that we expect exuberance when attending any function, and the organiser must wait for the guest of honour. To me, that kind of waiting is okay, but if we go to the office every day and expect ministry officers to wait for us, that should not be happening. Probably that happens in Peninsula alone,” he added.

Also present were Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development Dr Ripin Lamat; Ministry of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development (MYSED) permanent secretary Morshidi Frederick and the new Sarawak Museum Department director Nancy Jolhi who is MYSED’s former permanent secretary. — DayakDaily