Nov 1, 2023 2 min read

Malaysian government introduces 'kill switch' requirement for shows following The 1975 incident

The Malaysian government has told promoters staging performances by foreign artists that they need to have a kill switch system in place to stop shows if - like The 1975 at the Good Vibes Festival earlier this year - artists break the country’s rules governing live entertainment

Malaysian government introduces 'kill switch' requirement for shows following The 1975 incident

The Malaysian government's Communications And Digital Ministry has told concert promoters in the country that they need to have a 'kill switch' system in place when staging concerts by foreign artists so that shows can be stopped rapidly if any rules are broken.

The new requirement follows The 1975's performance at the Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur back in July. Deputy Minister Teo Nie Ching confirmed that the new kill switch guidelines were in response to that incident, adding: "We hope that, with stricter guidelines, we can ensure that performances by foreign artists can adhere to the culture in Malaysia".

Of course, in the context of this story, adhering to “culture in Malaysia” means declining to comment on or criticise the systematic oppression of LGBTQ+ rights in the country, police assaults on LGBTQ+ people, and the state turning a blind eye to the extrajudicial murder of LGBTQ+ people.

It was Malaysia’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws that The 1975 frontman Matty Healy criticised while headlining the Good Vibes Festival. His on-stage comments violated rules governing performances in the country and resulted in the band's set being cut short, and the following days of the festival being cancelled altogether.

However, it seems that the authorities would have liked The 1975's performance stopped much sooner. Hence the new kill switch system.

The company behind the Good Vibes Festival told CNA that it is already working to meet the new government requirement. It said: “From a technical standpoint, our production team is working on a way to safely put an immediate stop to a show without disrupting the operations or causing any damage to the audiovisual equipment being used for the performance".

“From an operations standpoint", a spokesperson continued, "we are working on streamlining the ‘stop show’ flow and mechanics. [This involves determining] who has the authority to call a show stop, at what point should it be called, and what criteria needs to be met for the show to be stopped".

The promoter also said that it didn't think the new kill switch requirement would deter international artists from playing in Malaysia, adding that The 1975 incident hadn't resulted in any decline in interest among foreign artists regarding performing in the country.

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