Coldplay gig a missed PR opportunity for unity gov’t to earn brownie points with young voters

OVER 70,000 souls braved the elements to catch Coldplay’s concert at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil on a rain-drenched Wednesday (Nov 22) night.

The gig was a resounding success with the crowd enjoying the two-hour performance that included frontman Chris Martin reciting a pantun and also ad-libbing a tribute to the Kuala Lumpur downpour.

Martin further endeared himself to local fans by saying the band would have come sooner if they had known of the enthusiastic response they would get. He also thanked the government for allowing the gig to happen and hoped to be back soon for future gigs.

The show was a resounding success and a high-profile one, given the unnecessary attention given to it by the ultra-conservatives (yet again).

To recap, Federal Territories’ mufti Datuk Dr Luqman Abdullah had called the government on Nov 18 to cancel the Coldplay concert. He appealed to the public not to support the concert, adding that it would not benefit society.

Earlier this week, PAS and Majlis Ulama Ikatan Muslimin (ISMA) religious council chairman Datuk Zamri Hashim also called for the Coldplay concert to be cancelled.

The huge and enthusiastic crowd underlined that many, many Malaysians are against the strict prohibitions espoused by the likes of Dr Luqman, PAS and ISMA.

Wasted opportunities

Hence, the concert has to be seen as a missed opportunity for the unity government to underline its commitment to progressive ideals. Here were tens of thousands of young, hip voters who are keen not to live in a Taliban-like state where the rights and views of minorities are dismissed.

It’s all well and good to display solidarity with Palestine by showing that unity government representatives of all backgrounds supported the end of hostilities in Gaza. That rally in Bukit Jalil drew 19,000 with various unity government bigwigs in attendance.

With the Coldplay show almost quadrupled that number in terms of spectators, unity government reps should have been there to jive along instead of just to push the kill switch.

Where were the representatives from the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry? What about the National Unity Ministry or the Youth and Sports Ministry? Brownie points were there to be earned and they failed to make full use of the opportunity.

This missed public relations (PR) opportunity would have helped raise the unity government’s profile with a demographic that will be crucial to its survival at the next elections given its unimpressive first-year report card.

Instead of pandering to the far-right which is highly unlikely to vote for them, why not woo the young, modern and progressive Malaysian? The unity government needs to understand who butters their bread.

Indeed, the unity government could learn a thing or two about PR from the Coldplay frontman. – Nov 25, 2023


Main photo credit: Invision/AP

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