Ugly side of The 1975: Fahmi Fadzil as a liberal got the wrong end of the stick

Letter to editor

I WOULD like to call upon Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil to have some empathy and sympathy on the organiser of the Good Vibes Festival (GVF) over the recent heated fiasco by British band The 1975 frontman Matt Healy on the night of July 21.

Indeed, the act by the performers must be condemned and our laws must be upheld to protect our young and impressionable whereby Matt Healy and The 1975 must be penalised but extending the punishment onto the organisers in an arbitrary or unconscionable manner do not spell well on the minister or the government.

The minister should not be seen to be trigger happy or shooting at the wrong target. The punishment by cancellation of the festival and asking the organisers to refund all tickets sold is unjust to the organiser who will be incurring heavy losses in monetary terms and in their reputation.

Fahmi seems “to be taking it out on the organisers” to appease or is playing to the side of conservatives. He and PKR are supposed to be liberal or have been holding out to be so to their supporters.

Is this drastic action on the organisers correct as they have no control on the spontaneous acts of any of their performers on the stage? If this is another “political bluff” to show that the unity government is not what it is perceived to be in view of the upcoming state elections?

The organisers are victims of a situation and should not be penalised for a wrong committed by another beyond their control or diligence.

Financial impact

This will also send a wrong message and a bad precedent to future organisers. Their future cost, risk and insurance may also be higher due to this unforeseen risk beyond their control.

All organisers as of now need to comply with the tight regulation by Central Agency for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (PUSPAL) under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

Penalising the organiser or demanding PUSPAL to be more stringent will only bring about more red tapes, rules and cost that will shy away entertainers and organisers thus damaging our entertainment industry.

Matt Healy is definitely wrong for flouting the rules. In fact, he has done a similar kissing act in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) by defying their anti-gay laws by kissing a man in a concert in August 2019.

The authorities should not have approved his performance here and not taking the risk of a repeated act but penalising the organiser or the ticket purchasers by cancelling the entire event despite approval.

This incident of gay kissing on stage is uncalled for and unacceptable to us but the minister’s act is a bad precedent with huge implications to our entertainment industry. By taking it out on the organisers and the public ticket buyers may lead to unnecessary negative international news and attention on Malaysia.

The minster’s decision may win him some political brownie points for the six state polls but will definitely damage our international standing and local entertainment industry that is already under tremendous pressure and challenges.

The Malay proverb marahkan nyamuk, kelambu dibakar is apt in this case. Do not burn the organisers or the industry due to the act of the performer. Actions should be targeted at “the mosquito” that is on Matt Healy or The 1975. – July 22, 2023


Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker is MCA’s vice-president.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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