KOTA KINABALU, Aug 30 — It is extreme ideologies and not concerts that are a threat to national unity, said National Armada vice chief Ceasar Mandela Malakun.
Responding to a PAS Youth leader’s warning that there will be nationwide protests unless scheduled concerts were cancelled, Malakun said that people should reject ideologies that could destroy the concept of unity in diversity.
“Concerts featuring international artistes are not a threat of any kind, other than being a form of entertainment, said Malakun.
“Sabah welcomes concerts including those that feature international artistes. We have hosted such events before and there was never a problem. Sabahans are peace-loving people who won’t go out to protest just because someone says so,” he said.
The political secretary to Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor said that the real threats were ideologies that can divide and disunite the nation by destroying the racial and religious harmony cherished for generations.
“Sabahans must continue to reject ideologies that could destroy the unity in diversity that has been Sabah’s proud identity.
“Besides, Sabahans are moderate people who live by common sense. We have been living in harmony despite being of different ethnicity and religions, and we have mutual respect for one another,” he said.
Mandela also pointed out that music and songs have the universal power to unite people of all races and religions.
“As a universal language, music unites people across cultures and can comfort people in times of hardship. Music and songs are all around us. They provide powerful stories, inspiration, and joy in their messages. They can also be a force for change, serving as a voice for social advocacy and enhancing mutual understanding between different cultures,” he said.
He said organisers of concerts featuring international artistes should come to Sabah where music and songs are close to the people.
“Sabahans appreciate the value of music and songs because these are closely part of every ethnic community in Sabah, and we pass them down from generation to generation. And what unites us is that songs and music from one ethnic community are appreciated and enjoyed by others. This is one of the trademarks of Sabahans,” he said.
Earlier this week, PAS Youth chief and Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari called on the government to cancel concerts featuring international artistes, claiming that they encouraged hedonism and were incompatible with the norms and values of Muslim life in Malaysia.
He warned that unless this was done, there would be nationwide protests.
“We will not hesitate to mobilise resistance throughout the country if (this call) is ignored,” he was quoted as saying in a report. His posting on Facebook was made in the wake of a concert held by American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish recently.
However, he later said that concerts with international artistes could still be held in PAS-ruled states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah if the artistes did not have a “deviant” lifestyle.