Update: Beyonce’s Malaysian Concert Scrapped Due to Protest

Beyonce’s Nov. 1 concert in Kuala Lumpur has been cancelled following protests by local Muslim groups and what industry sources say is the American artist’s refusal to abide by the country’s strict dress code for performers. Kuala Lumpur-based concert promoter Pineapple Concerts issued a statement today (Sept. 28) announcing the cancellation — without giving a reason — of what would have been the Beyonce’s Malaysian debut performance. The artist is set to perform in China for the first time on Nov. 5. Foreign acts previously brought by Pineapple to Malaysia include Kanye West and Earth, Wind & Fire. Many Muslim groups, including the 10,000-strong National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students, had urged the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, which in 2005 introduced a compulsory dress code and other rules for performers, to stop the concert from being held. When announcing the concert on Aug. 17, Pineapple said it would abide by the rules, which say there must be no hugging or kissing audience members or fellow artists, no jumping or shouting, no throwing objects onstage or at the audience and no foul language. Clothes cannot have obscene or drug-related images or messages, and female performers must show no skin from the tops of their chests to their knees. Promoters and sponsors must pledge in writing that they accept and will inform the performers of the rules, as well as ensuring that they follow them. Tickets for Beyonce’s show, which was to have been held at Kuala Lumpur’s 9,000-seat Putra Stadium, had not yet gone on sale. A ministry official says Pineapple had not applied for a license to hold the concert. Industry sources speculate Pineapple was waiting to apply until it was sure Beyonce would agree to comply with the dress code. Neither Pineapple Concerts chairman Razlan Ahmad Razali nor Beyonce’s management returned calls by press time. Another foreign act to come up against Malaysia’s dress code recently was Gwen Stefani. She was required to dress modestly for her Aug. 21 sold-out show at Putra Stadium after the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students said her “revealing” outfits clashed with Islamic values. Stefani wore jackets over her tops and leotards underneath her skirts and dresses to conform to the guidelines during the concert. In a pre-concert press conference, Stefani said she made a “major sacrifice” in agreeing to the guidelines, because she wanted Malaysian fans to see her live show. She added that it was the first time in her 20-year career she had been criticized for the way she dressed.


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