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Malaysia Releases New, 'Voluntary' Concert Rules

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (CelebrityAccess) — The Malaysian Islamic Development Department has released a new set of guidelines on concerts that includes strict requirements on gender segregation and other 'moral' requirements for concerts, but says that the new rules are 'entirely voluntary.'

The guidelines include stipulations that concerts and performers, including dressing rooms, need to be segregated by gender and that jokes told by performers must be 'sparing' and should not lead to “extreme laughter.” Other provisions state that performers must have a noble character and that performances cannot denigrate the Islamic faith, and cross-dressing is strictly verboten.

Datuk Othman Mustapha, the director-general of the department, said that the guidelines were merely a reminder following improvements on guidelines previously published in 2007.

"The objective is to educate the entertainment industry. There is no enforcement. It is voluntary for them (the entertainment industry)," he told AsiaOne after attending the National Fatwa Council Special Conference here yesterday.
"The department only advises and gives suggestions to the entertainment industry."