I REFER to your news report that the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has issued new guidelines on performers and their audience in order to comply with Islamic morals.
It is amazing that in formulating the new rules, Jakim forgot the famous phrase that laughter is the best medicine.
Doctors will testify that going out to relax and enjoy a night out is one of the best ways to reduce stress and live a healthier and higher quality life.
The night entertainment outlets and TV companies will go out of business if morality rules are so strict that entertainers and comedians come on stage with a straight face.
Our youth would rather stay home to watch a Bollywood movie with bosomy actresses on television than watch a heavily clothed singer singing only patriotic songs. The culture and arts of a country cannot be dictated by bureaucracy, least of all, the religious officials, because people enjoy a performance when it stimulates their senses.
They don't enjoy a show when the performer is not engaged with the audience. Neither will the singer nor the comedian enjoy his or her act if there is no response from the crowd.
Jakim has to be realistic and realise that life is not all about religion.
Its officials should study how the Soviet communists tried to control the minds and private activities of the people, and had to give up the thought controls as they were simply destroying the creativity and inventiveness of the young generation, causing the economy to lag behind progressive Western countries.
They also realised that when they made life so boring, the people turned to alcohol, making Russia the country with the highest number of alcoholics in the world.
We cannot achieve our National Transformation Programme’s objective of becoming a high-income country by 2020 if we are continually besieged by all these religious restrictions on our personal life.
I appeal to the government to intervene quickly before these guidelines hit the front page of the New York and London newspapers, ridiculing our leaders for bowing down to the religious bureaucracy and contradicting the image of a moderate Muslim country.
Muslims, too, are getting embarassed by these pretensions of religious purity in reaction to an incident when a few Muslim girls were hugged on stage by K-Pop singers.
You don't let loose an elephant to kill a few mice. I would advise our performers and comedians to continue as naturally as befit their styles and skills, so that they can entertain and make a living from their noble profession.