by DAPSY Acting National Secretary, Loke Siew Fook
in Petaling Jaya
on Thursday, September 19, 2002
Kelantan ban on women performers unfair and insensitive
The latest announcement by the PAS Kelantan State Government to ban women artistes in concerts and live entertainment shows in Kelantan is most unfair and insensitive to the rights of women.
The latest imposition of these so-called moral obligations by the Kelantan government is an infringement of individual rights. The Kelantan government must realize that live performances and light entertainments like singing and traditional dancing is some form of healthy entertainments and must not be seen as a taboo.
I agree that there should be certain guidelines to be followed by the performers like dressing code and other regulations to ensure the performances will not go overboard as to respect the local culture, but an outright ban on women performers is totally unnecessary and unfair to the women. This is not just insensitive to women rights but denied their rights to make a living from performing arts.
The ban, which covers all hotels and resorts in the state, is also a violation of the rights of the non-Muslim in the state to enjoy entertainment. The state government must realize that there is a section of non-Muslim community staying in Kelantan and their ways of lifestyles should not be imposed.
We are all against vice and unhealthy activities among the youth, but to equate all forms of entertainments with vice is just ridiculous.
I call upon the Kelantan state government to immediately revoke the ban to give justice to the women performers and demonstrate that the PAS government is a moderate government and tenable with modernity. I must remind PAS leaders that their latest controversial move will only give more arsons to the Barisan Nasional to paint a bad image about PAS and the opposition.
Women organizations, artistes associations and component parties in the Barisan Alternative must speak up on this issue to convey their objections to the PAS Kelantan government.