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Terengganu: Strict entertainment guidelines undermine audience, performers

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Sisters in Islam (SIS) views with grave concern the Terengganu Tourism, Culture and Information Technology committee chairman, Ariffin Deraman‘s quote that Terengganu will impose segregation guidelines for events – where performers and audiences are segregated according to their genders  – soon.

The guidelines, which have been introduced in October 2018, among others, will bar women entertainers from performing before male audiences and segregate male and female audiences. The guidelines also state that exposure of the aurat is strictly prohibited, and music and rhythms that can induce voluntary movement of the body and extreme and mesmerising lyrics are prohibited.

After all these years, isn’t there any trust at all in the public at large that they are able to have an appreciation of culture and entertainment without having to be segregated particularly in a state such as Terengganu which is steeped in local culture and heritage?

According to Ariffin, the policy was supposed to be imposed in January, but due to “legal technicalities,” the policy was postponed.

SIS is disturbed with Ariffin’s quote that says, once the legal technicalities have been ironed out, the policy will be enforced. What kinds of sanctions will the state impose to performers, audiences, companies or organisers who disobey the policy? Which enactments or provisions will be amended to penalise violations of these guidelines? Which agencies will be involved in enforcing these guidelines and what powers do they have?

The enforcement of the policy will affect the livelihood of both women and men in the entertainment industry and will affect how families get to be together in outings that have entertainment. Such a policy will also limit the participation of women to perform in shows, thus hurting the preservation and promotion of local culture and heritage in the long run.

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