KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia has allowed Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne to hold a concert ahead of the country’s independence day celebrations, reversing a decision to bar the performance following protests by an Islamist party.
The decision to allow the August 29 concert in Kuala Lumpur was taken at a cabinet meeting after studying the assurances given by the concert organizer, Bernama quoted Arts and Culture Minister Mohamad Shafie Apdal as saying.
The government had previously asked Lavigne’s promoters to change the date of the concert after the opposition, Parti se-Islam Malaysia, objected to it, saying that mainly Muslim Malaysia should not ape Western values and cultures.
Although Malaysia, which marks its 51st year of independence from Britain on August 31, is a moderate Muslim country with sizeable non-Muslim minorities, conservative groups often frown upon departures from strict interpretations of the Koran.
“In giving the approval, the cabinet also instructed the (arts and culture) ministry to monitor the concert to ensure that the performances do not clash with the Malaysian culture and values,” Shafie was quoted as saying.
Last October, U.S. R&B star Beyonce Knowles axed her debut concert in Malaysia in protest against the country’s ultra-strict dress code and over fears of a Muslim outcry over her show.
But a year ago, U.S. singer Gwen Stefani performed in Malaysia despite calls from Muslim students to cancel the concert because they deemed it too obscene.
Reporting by Faisal Aziz; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani