Coldplay concert in Malaysia can be stopped by organisers if the band misbehaves, government says

Chris Martin of Coldplay
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Organizers of Wednesday’s Coldplay concert in Malaysia can stop the show if the British rock band misbehaves, a minister said as the government rejected Muslim conservatives’ calls to cancel the show.

Led by the country’s opposition bloc, Muslim conservatives have protested the concert over Coldplay’s support for the LGBTQ+ community. Recently, they also pushed for the concert to be halted in solidarity with Palestinians killed in the Israel-Hamas war.

Communication and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said he doesn’t foresee any problem with Coldplay’s first concert in Malaysia later in the night. Security has been beefed up for the show that is expected to draw some 75,000 people at a stadium outside Kuala Lumpur.

Chris Martin of Coldplay performs at the Rose Bowl, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

“The prime minister has also said the band, you know, is very supportive of Palestine. So, we are upbeat about the concert today,” he added.

Malaysia introduced the kill switch measure recently after a controversy sparked by British band The 1975 in Kuala Lumpur in July. The band’s lead singer slammed the country’s anti-gay laws and kissed a male bandmate during their performance, sparking a backlash among Muslims and prompted the government to cut short a three-day music festival.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has justified allowing the Coldplay concert, telling Parliament on Tuesday that “Coldplay is actually among the bands that support Palestine.” He noted that the previous administration, before he took power in November 2022, had approved the concert. Anwar said pro-Palestinian groups also approached his office in support of the Coldplay concert.

The opposition Islamic party PAS slammed Anwar’s stance. While Coldplay supports the Palestinian cause, it also encourages hedonism, said its information chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari.

Muslims gather for a rally against British band Coldplay outside the British embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. Dozens of conservative Muslims marched in Indonesia's capital on Friday calling for cancellation of Coldplay's concert later this month, saying the British band's support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender will corrupt young people. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

“This is not about whether they purely support the Palestinian cause or not but the issue of hedonism culture that they bring to our community,” he said Tuesday in Parliament. PAS, which has expanded its influence following strong Muslim support in the 2022 elections, often protests concerts by international artists that it said were incompatible with Muslim values.

Officials from concert organizer Live Nation Malaysia couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. It issued a statement to concert-goers a few days ago, reminding them to be “mindful of local cultures and sensitivities” and refrain from displaying props or items that may cause discomfort to others.

Police have warned the public to refrain from any sort of provocation and inciting unrest at the concert, which is part of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres World Tour.

Coldplay also met with resistance from Muslims when they performed in Indonesia earlier this month. Protesters held rallies right up to the day of its concert, slamming the band as an LGBTQ+ “propagandist” whose stance damages “faith and morals.”

Coldplay is renowned for interlacing its values with its shows, such as the band’s push for environmental sustainability. Lead singer Chris Martin has been known to wear rainbow colors and wave gay pride flags during performances.

Source: AP