The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) gender segregation guideline could become a human rights issue, an event organiser warned.
PR Worldwide Sdn.Bhd managing founder Para.R said this is because the religious authority, in their effort to police the Muslims at entertainment events, is forgetting all together the rights of the rest of the society.
“Even if Jakim imposes a ban on Muslims attending entertainment shows, won’t that be infringing their freedom?” he asked.
Para said this could lead to all Muslims being forbidden from attending concerts if the guidelines were to be enforced in Malaysia eventually.
He also questioned if the guideline would mean that people also lose their right to laugh as well and local comedy shows such as Maharaja Lawak would then have to be reviewed, following the guideline. READ: Jakim willing to explain stage show guidelines
Jakim in its guidelines has outlined that excessive laughter should be limited in stage comedy shows.
Para said this is a huge leap backwards for a multiracial and moderate country such as Malaysia.
The government’s efforts in propelling Malaysia as a moderate Islamic nation will be ruined by Jakim’s guidelines, he added.
He said the United States has acknowledged Malaysia as the bridge between the far left and far right Islamic nations and many countries look up to Malaysia.
“People will start perceiving Malaysia as a more radical Islamic country when this is implemented. We’re not like Pakistan or Afghanistan where things are extreme and Western ideals or elements are completely rejected,” said Para adding that Malaysians are accustomed to Hollywood and MTV cultures with modernisation.
“Jakim has to understand the real sentiments on ground and not be seen as imposing extreme Islamic thoughts,” he who has been involved in the entertainment industry for 15 years said. READ: Gender segregation at live shows a logistical nightmare for event organisers
Malaysia will also be at the losing end in terms of economy, he warned.
He added many bands and groups will then move to Singapore and Indonesia who are less stringent when it comes to guidelines.
“The performers will be taking a financial risk with the possibility of last minute concert cancellation for not being able to meet certain guidelines.
“They who depend on tours and concerts as their source of income might just not go through the hassle, risk, and will surely choose other destinations for their performances,” he said.
He said Jakim is taking facts from the grounds at face value without assessing the depth of the situation.
“What is lacking now is the interaction between the real world and Jakim,” he said.
Industry players are ready to sit down and discuss the set of entertainment guidelines with Jakim and the relevant agencies.
He said a dialogue session engaging all stakeholders would be the right thing to do.
The industry players would be able to explain to Jakim that the entertainment industry is run very professionally and artistes abide by the current guidelines. ALSO READ: Gender segregation at live shows: "why only now?" - Jennifer Thompson