Over the weekend, we saw a myriad of mix-reaction from Malaysians, after one of the most coveted concerts for music fans in 2023 ended sooner than planned. The festival, which was supposed to run over three days at the Sepang International Circuit, was cancelled after just one day due to a disputed on-stage act by an international artist that violated Malaysian law.
Communications and Digital Minister YB Fahmi Fadzil, who voiced his displeasure with the ”rude” and ”displeasing” behaviour had convened a meeting with the event’s organiser, Future Sound Asia, and promptly cancelled the remaining 2-days festival. He took to his Instagram to address the issue, stating “There will be no compromise with any party that challenges, belittles, or violates Malaysian laws. Therefore, I have directed for the immediate cancellation of the festival, which was supposed to continue until tomorrow”.
However, the controversy following the Good Vibes Festival wasn’t the first time the Malaysian government has ever turned down international acts. From Beyonce, to Kesha to Black Eyed Peas, here are the most controversial Malaysia’s concert incidents.
Back in 2001, Megadeth’s concert in KL Malaysia was cancelled due to the authorities’ unfavourable perception of the band’s image and sound. The authorities deemed the band’s mascot, Vic Rattlehead, to be unsuitable and threatened the members with arrest if they performed. Megadeth’s CD ‘The World Needs a Hero’ was also pulled from shop shelves after its government labelled its graphics inappropriately.
In 2007, Beyonce decided to cancel her show in Malaysia after government regulations prohibited her from wearing revealing clothes, as well as sprinting and dancing on stage. Several sources indicated that the announcement came as a result of an increase in demonstrations by several conservative groups.
A few years after Beyonce’s incident, Kesha’s performance was similarly cancelled, with Malaysia’s organiser notifying the cancellation at the very last minute claiming the authorities forbade her from performing owing to cultural and religious sensitivities.
Metal band Kreator had their concert cancelled in Kuala Lumpur in 2014. According to reports, the venue’s ‘’licence has expired’’’. However, the organisers said that a few hours before the concert started, they received a verbal warning following a public complaint over what was purportedly billed as a “Black Metal Show’’. This then led to an authority stripping their rights to perform that night.
The Pussycat Dolls
The Pussycat Dolls, who played in Malaysia in 2006, sparked controversy when their organiser were punished for allowing them to engage in “explicit” acts. The concert lasted barely a few minutes before being brought to a halt by authorities. The fine was RM10,000, which was reimbursed by the organisers.
The Black Eyed Peas
In 2009, while the government agreed to permit the Black Eyed Peas to perform in Malaysia, Muslims however, were barred from attending the show. According to officials, Muslims were denied the opportunity to be present at the Black Eyed Peas event in Kuala Lumpur due to the concert was organised by Guinness Beer.
A few months before the Black Eyed Peas incident, Rihanna also cancelled her gig in Malaysia. Her exposing clothing and dance skills were the first cause for the authorities to express their worry. However, Rihanna then decided to not further perform in Malaysia, Indonesia and other South East Asia country following the infamous Chris Brown car assault just a night before the Grammys.