11 July 2024

A concert featuring a well-known Thai folk songstress and scantily clad dancers at a Buddhist festival to celebrate Loy Krathong has stirred controversy in the conservative Malaysian state of Kelantan, according to Malaysian media.

Video clips of the Nov-24 event have gone viral, triggering a heated debate across social media platforms and prompting some netizens to call for an investigation, The New Straits Times reported.

The concert was held in conjunction with the Loy Krathong festival in the vicinity of a Buddhist temple in Bachok, 25km east of the state capital Kota Baru. Bachok has a sizeable Malaysian-Thai community.

Videos and pictures that have gone viral show Thai artiste Thungpang Chanoknan performing with her dancers on a stage in sexy attire, with the crowd dancing along.

The Straits Times of Singapore also reported that several online commentators pointed out what they saw as double standards by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), which governs Kelantan, questioning why such a “vulgar performance” was allowed, given the party’s previous criticisms of international performances in the country.

The Islamist party had said concerts by foreign artists were against the values of Malaysia’s Muslim-majority population and will promote a hedonistic culture.

Malaysian media said the organizer of the concert faces a fine of up to RM10,000 (about 75,000 baht) for breaching conditions for organizing the concert in the PAS-ruled state.

They quoted a senior local Kelantan official as saying that the organizer had a permit and did not breach the Kelantan Entertainment Control Enactment as claimed by certain parties.

“However, the organizer has failed to comply with the rules, featuring singers from Thailand who did not comply with the dress code. They also allowed Muslims into the concert,” he told a press conference.