KUCHING, Aug 30 — Sarawak’s Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah today said the state does not have any problem with public concerts being organised so long as the performers adhere to certain rules.
“We are tolerant of each other. We are very happy to see all these festivals and concerts coming back after two years’ absence due to Covid-19 pandemic,” he told reporters at the launch of the Kuching Jazz Festival here.
“But we also know that whatever things we organise, there are limits to where we can perform and how the performers are going to be attired. Things like that,” he said.
He said he has many friends from peninsular Malaysia asking him if they can move to Sarawak.
“They are so happy because we’ve concerts, (but) in peninsular Malaysia, they want to organise the concerts while some others want to go to the street to object to the organising of the concerts,” he said in reference to the Islamic Party (PAS) Youth’s opposition to the staging of concerts in Kuala Lumpur.
On August 25, PAS Youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari called on the government to cancel and disallow concerts from international artistes as they supposedly do not comply with the norms and values of Muslims in Malaysia.
Ahmad Fadhli, who is also the Pasir Mas MP, urged individuals and non-governmental organisations who share the same view to “rise together” and stop what he termed as the slow creep of “hedonism” into society.
In his Facebook’s post, he had said PAS Youth would not hesitate to mobilise resistance throughout the country if this was ignored.
Karim, who is also Asajaya state assemblyman, said the objection is the kind of problems that “we have with our neighbours in the peninsula.”
“But down here in Sarawak, we are more tolerant about a lot of things. We are very happy that we are not overly excited and sensitive about certain things,” he said.
He said there are many festivals, concerts and sports events being held in Sarawak this year.
“I think those operating the hotels can justify that. Occupancy has been very good and I have been getting good feedback from the hoteliers and that is good to the downstream economy.
“It is not just the hotels, but also the operators of public transport and souvenir shops and restaurants,” he said.
The Kuching Jazz Festival will be held from October 28 to 29 at the Kuching Waterfront.
He said the jazz festival is among the activities to be held in October, including the International Dragon Boat Festivals with teams from the United States, Iraq and Cyprus confirming their participation.