Local Indie Event Space, Angkasa, Raided, Fined RM50k & Now Faces Possible Shutdown
If you’re an avid observer or even participant of the independent music scene in Malaysia, you will most likely be aware of the slew of raids and shutdowns that occurred in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has been talked about time and time again, with JUICE even reporting on the grievances faced by local musicians who were directly impacted by this drastic change.
Most notably, live band hub Merdekarya has been the most outspoken about the challenges they have had to overcome in order to keep their business afloat.
Raided, asked for documentation permits, and threatened with insurmountable fines, Brian Gomez, the organiser for Merdekarya and fellow writer, felt pummelled by the difficulties but through the community’s love for the event hub and numerous creative endeavours, they have found a way to keep the gig scene alive.
While this may be true for Merdekarya, the same tragic fate has befallen another beloved event space, Angkasa only yesterday night (24 July).
Angkasa Event Space’s organiser Elmi shared a thread on Twitter as well as multiple other tweets regarding the situation and it has left netizens wondering, “How many more of our favourite spaces will fall victim to this in the future?”
Essentially, DBKL has enforced that every gig space will need to get an entertainment license which costs RM50,000 for the deposit as well as an additional RM30,000 for processing fees.
Clearly, for such an independent event space, this fee is too much for Angkasa to fork out.
After sharing that, Elmi proceeded to share his unsavoury experience with the officers that raided the space.
He mentioned how they didn’t even receive prior warning for the shuttering, or else he would’ve had time to prepare whatever he felt was necessary.
Instead, the officers showed up for the raid, immediately asked them to pack their essentials, issued a fine and locked the doors.
He also noted that all of the officers wore shoes (Angkasa is typically a no-shoe-zone) and some of them even smoked on the premises which is also prohibited by the event space.
Apart from that, the officers also made some inappropriate comments, likening the event space to a “private party.”
But not wanting to stoke the flames, Elmi kept mum about the behaviour as it was all already too much to process.
Here are a few pictures from that night…
And today they’ve come after @AngkasaSpace https://t.co/rzRLmVBy0X pic.twitter.com/XNwoLbJe6t
— JD Wong – Producer/Mixer/Recordist/Musician (@Mixboy2105) July 24, 2022
Art bratz pic.twitter.com/9cykilyUT7
— Nazhry Richard (@ruffohruff) July 24, 2022
However the community has been very vocal about their thoughts on the situation. Some have even provided possible resolutions to keep this from happening again.
Check out the comments below…
As of right now, netizens have suggested to start crowdfunding in order to save the space.
Another local event space, Atas Angin has also showed solidarity through a few tweets.
Give Back Our Space!
Tulis moment MEMORABLE korang di @AngkasaSpace & kenapa kita kene KEMBALIKAN ruangan kreative kita!
tag semua band yang pernah korang tengok perform disitu. #giveusSPACE pic.twitter.com/X845vs0W4X
— Atas Angin (@_atasangin) July 25, 2022
With all that said, the question on everyone’s mind is how can this happen? Why did Angkasa, a safe event space that has never been raided before, suddenly become a target?
JUICE contacted a local organiser who has worked with Angkasa numerous times to get his insight on how and why this unfolded.
According to him, Angkasa has a permit but since they’re a small jamming studio that doesn’t serve alcohol or food, the most definitely won’t be able to sustain the costs if they had to apply for the entertainment license and pay the taxes.
As for the possible reason for this raid, our contact remains unsure but he speculates that it could be a matter of either jealousy, heightened tensions due to the crackdown of Crackhouse Comedy Club or overcrowding which led to a report.
At the time of writing, we are still unsure of the official reason but hopefully after the organisers have settled, they might announce it soon.
Until then, show Angkasa Event Space your support and solidarity by following them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Cover image courtesy of @Mixboy2105 and @ELMIELMO on Twitter.