“Leave Kuala Lumpur alone. Don’t spoil things for us here”

Californian metal band Megadeth is scheduled to perform at Stadium Negara tonight, their first show here as they were banned from performing at Warp Club, Kuala Lumpur back in 2001 when they didn’t meet the requirements of what the leaders of this country considered “decent music”.

Credit: bandwagon

Their new record at the time, The World Needs a Hero, was also pulled from stores after the Malaysian government regarded the band’s image as unsuitable – this was just a couple of years before Malaysia’s notorious ‘black metal’ witch hunt where authorities shut down several venues and indie shows throughout Malaysia based on outrageous claims that they were Satanic in nature.

Credit: bandwagon

Nearly 16 years later and PAS Youth stays true to their word of the ban, worried by the “negative effects” that heavy metal music would have on audiences. PAS Youth Information Chief, Hishamuddin Abdul Karim has concluded that there’s a breach of the entertainment guidelines set by JAKIM (the Malaysian Islamic Development Department).

Although PAS has denied claims of a party-organised protest taking place at Megadeth’s concert – PAS Youth leader Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi’s face is circulated on an allegedly fake poster as a call to rally at Stadium Negara – they still oppose the concert taking place, effectively making them part-time promoters of the scene. Think about it, PAS is giving a whole lot of free media coverage and attention to acts that would otherwise only get an article or an interview per publication for promotion sake. Right now Megadeth’s concert has been trending in Malaysian social media for the past 2 days because of PAS’ move. Thank you, PAS! It just might be a sold out concert thanks to your zany antics.

PAS Youth is still haunted by the ghost of last year’s protest over Selena Gomez’s concert, a concert which happened anyway. This was one of the factors that caused PAS to cut ties with the People’s Justice Party (PKR) – for allowing the “seductive singer” to perform in Selangor – as Selangor MB and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali told Malaysiakini recently.

Although there’s no protest on today’s concert, there’s something about live performances that seem to hit a nerve for PAS Youth. It’s happened so often that even Barisan National politicians (yes, we know we can’t trust these guys too, but at the moment their statements might actually, for once, echo the voice of greater Malaysia) have criticised PAS’ affinity for imposing their morals beyond their jurisdiction.

“We don’t have to bow to pressure from PAS which wants to dictate things to us based on its personal views or beliefs,” said MCA bureau chairman, Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker. He also added, “If the relevant authorities have approved the concert, then PAS must respect the decision until the point comes when they actually rule this country.” (And let’s hope that day comes only after the day President Donald Trump decides to have a dick-off contest with Kim Jong Un and blows up the world).

MIC Youth chief Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran said “PAS does not get the right to set our moral standards,” referring that the power of their rule should not extend further than Kelantan he added, “Leave Kuala Lumpur alone. Don’t spoil things for us here.”

It’s not all political as Chief Executive Officer of Livescape Group, Muhammad Iqbal Ameer points out, “There are 6,000 event organisers in the Klang Valley. Cancellations affect everyone’s livelihood and business.”

Academician, local musician-songwriter Azmyl Yunor, who has also written a paper on the Malaysian Black Metal Witch Hunt which was presented at Cambridge (putting Malaysia on the map in the world of academia), said, “Here is an example of an old and frankly outdated attempt at moral policing by ultra-conservative groups. Only those bankrupt of ideas of how to better society would take this stance. They are essentially the same as those who are trying to win populist support.”

Now that reasons are laid out to PAS Youth to keep out of such matters, we can only hope other artists won’t be deterred to perform here again.

Just like Megadeth who are here to promote their new record Dystopia, their first album in three years and their 15th in their long career which recently bagged a Grammy for Best Metal Performance at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.

The Megadeth concert is held in Stadium Negara at 8pm today. Purchase remaining tickets here with options still available from RM288, RM358, RM388.