Conflicting rules for concert organisers



CONCERT organisers are hearing confusing annotations on sponsorship by liquor and tobacco companies. They say regulations pertaining to sponsorship of concerts by liquor and tobacco companies continue to stupefy them.

Consider this: Beer makers had sponsored several major recent concerts and despite the wide publicity the authorities did not take any action to stop them (see graphics above).

This, concert organisers said, gave the impression that the authorities did not have any objections.

However, last Wednesday, a different tune was being sung when organisers learnt of the ruling during a dialogue session between Puspal and representatives of the Malaysian Association of Live Entertainment Performances (Malep).

Deputy secretary-general of Information, Communication and Culture Datuk Mohammed Mohd Daud said there is nothing vague about the ruling and that it had always been that way since Puspal was established. (Puspal is the Central Agency for the Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes set up in 2001).

Mohammed’s confirmation took the floor by surprise considering that many concerts in the country had international acts that were sponsored by liquor or tobacco companies. Asked how these events were allowed, Mohammed said this was because Puspal did not have any knowledge about the type of sponsorships these concerts had.

“If we are not informed that these events are sponsored by these companies, then how are we to know?” he told Malay Mail on Friday.

“We can act accordingly if Puspal has knowledge that a concert has breached its guidelines.”

He pointed to R&B singer Akon’s concert in Kuala Lumpur, which has been rescheduled from July 2 to Oct 24. Mohamed said the Akon show was ordered stopped by Puspal after it had confirmed that Chivas sponsored the concert.

Akon can go on, he said, provided that no liquor or tobacco companies are involved.

Earlier, the organisers for the event, Marctensia, announced that the show had to be postponed due to the singer’s urgent family matters.

In response, Pineapple Concerts managing director Razman Razali said: “Puspal has not made it clear what is allowed and what is not. Pineapple held the Sunburst festival with Tuborg among the sponsors for two consecutive years.”

Guinness-Anchor Berhad managing director Charles Ireland believes that the restriction will have a profound effect on the  country’s economy and tourism industry as well as the growth of the local music industry.

“It will be bad for the economy if these music concerts and festivals are scrapped due to sponsorship issues.

“These are the sort of events that attract tourists from all over the world, and if we can’t have them anymore, tourists will skip Malaysia for Singapore or Thailand,” he said.

Zouk Club head of marketing and communications Adam Mathews said: “It costs a lot of money to bring international acts into the country and the ruling will badly affect our industry.

“At present, only large and established tobacco, liquor and telco companies are willing to provide sponsorship for such events.”

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