The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has imposed new rules on concert-goers as well as entertainers who are performing in Malaysia – be it local or international.

The new limitations touch on the areas of the performances, dress codes, behaviours, personalities and the most surprising one – gender segregation among the audience.

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According to The Star, the new guidelines were released this week after it was approved by the 107th National Fatwa Committee Meeting held last February.

The following are the new rules set by JAKIM:-

  1. Performing artistes have to maintain a noble personality and good moral quality even outside of performances. He or she should not have any criminal records.
  2. Artistes must also dress decently and politely in attire that covers their “aurat”. Their outfits or hairstyles should not resemble the opposite gender.
  3. The performances must not touch the sensitivity of other religions or contain any symbolisms which are against Islamic values.
  4. Jokes and humours must be maintained at a decent amount as to avoid extreme laughter among audience.
  5.  Performing artistes are prohibited from portraying the opposite gender on stage.
  6. Dance moves must not be too sexy, erotic or obscene to the point that it can excite the audience.
  7. Song lyrics should not contain vulgar meanings and insults on other religions or cultures. It should contain goodness and moral values in order to create awareness and consciousness among the audience.
  8. The music played should encourage a good and peaceful atmosphere.
  9. Males and females should be separated and should not mingle in any performances – be it the performers of the audience.

Read the full guidelines by JAKIM here.

As to be expected, the new guidelines have caused quite the dissatisfaction among many concert-goers and also event organisers.

According to Hype, Livescape Group CEO Iqbal Ameer commented;

“I think one thing that people failed to remember was that we are the promoters. So, as promoters, what we do is that we provide the platform for the artistes to display or showcase their art. Maybe a comedian, a musician, a pop star, a boy band, or even a DJ. We provide that platform because people want to see it. These are the things you get on the radio and on TV. We are just giving you the experience to watch that live. Instead of us working together to enhance the experience, address any issue that people may have, and move forward, we are going backwards by people who have not set out to have an open dialogue with us. We were shocked because we didn’t even know about it, which is really upsetting.”

He further added;

“As a Muslim, I understand where Jakim is coming from. We were taught by Islamic studies since we were kids, so these are the Islamic ways of doing things. But it all depends on what do you want from Malaysia and how we want people to see Malaysia. But the rule that affects me the most is the fact that we can’t have “extreme laughter.”

Also, Dato’ Razlan Razali, CEO of Sepang International Circuit on behalf of the Arts, Live Festivals and Events Association (ALIFE) had released their statement concerning the new rules;

“There are more than 2,000 live events taking place in Malaysia in conjunction with the Year of Festival 2015. The government’s vision versus what is happening or being implemented on ground is not in sync. There is a clear disconnect. 

Malaysia is no 19th in Business Environment Rankings (2014), World Bank’s ‘Ease of doing business’ (2014), Top 10 travel destinations for 2014 by Lonely Planet; and Kuala Lumpur was ranked 80th most liveable city on EIU scale (2014) and 16th most liveable city for expats in Asia (2015). How do we continue to strengthen our rankings when small waves of conflicting efforts are stumbling blocks to such efforts?”

The following are complaints given by many concert goers:-

(Photo source: thenextweb.com)