On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

PAS trying to be our moral guardian again

Although the two-time Grammy Awards winner can still
perform to a sell-out crowd, she has to do more in the face of heavy
competition from newcomers such as Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Britney

Regarded as the best-selling female performer of all time, Carey has shed more
of her skimpy clothes in her videos and continued to retain most of her male
admirers, including those PAS members who must have been secretly watching the

If it's all about sexy singers, the majority of us would rather watch Kylie
Minogue or Shakira, Being sexy, however, does not mean being erotic, lewd and
obscene. Anggun, Ning Baizura and Ella are considered to be sexy by many,
regardless of whether they are men or women, but they are properly

We like Carey simply because she is a good vocalist. She also composes her
songs, and with 15 hit singles under her belt, she certainly has talent. She is
proud of her physical assets and flaunts them much more than she ought to, but
we believe she is sensible enough to abide by the conditions spelt out to her
by the Malaysian authorities for her Feb 22 concert here.

After all, she is scheduled to perform in Jakarta on Feb 15, Beirut on Feb 24
and Dubai on Feb 26 – all three cities with predominantly Muslim populations –
as part of her world tour.

It is understood that Singapore, well aware of the tourism gains from such a concert,
tried very hard to get her to sing there but she picked Kuala Lumpur over the
island republic.

Last week, Federal Territory PAS Youth deputy chief Ahmad Sabki Yusof protested
against the concert, saying it was untimely and that Carey was known for her
sexy and provocative dressing. PAS could not accept her "immoral performance",
he said. Criticising the Government for allowing such an "obscene act", he said
her concert was not suitable for the people.

PAS was also unhappy that the Government allowed Linkin Park to perform here

Malaysians should be familiar with the stance adopted by PAS. In the name of
religion, they have played moral guardians again. Not only have they protested
against anything Western, they have banned mak yong and wayang kulit, very much
part of the Malay culture, supposedly because of Hindu influences.

Years ago, students aligned to PAS staged a protest at Universiti Malaya
against a concert by jazz queen Sheila Majid and also at Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia for holding an Alleycats concert. The argument then was that campuses
should not be venues for pop concerts. If so, what about PAS politicians
preaching at these campuses?

In Terengganu, the PAS government has banned Indian dances for Deepavali
celebrations on the grounds that they involved female and male dancers. A
social dance for senior elders, organised by the state MCA, also ran into

PAS leaders, in their eagerness to embrace the Arab culture, have unfortunately
gone overboard in the name of religion. To put down their opponents, the PAS
leaders brand them as Jews and anti-Islam.

They have used such arguments for far too long, and moderate Malaysians should
not allow them to intimidate us with such baseless allegations. Non-Muslims
should not let these mullahs dictate what we should see and what we should

The Terengganu government tried to impose a dress code on non-Muslims but has
since backtracked, because we will not allow ourselves to be subjected to the
theocratic rule of PAS.

Not all Arab women in their home countries wear the veil, as PAS politicians
would want us to believe. Just tune in to the Arab Radio Television (ART)
channel in Astro and you will see what I mean. The broadcasters in ART and
Al-Jazeera are mostly blondes, stylish and contemporary. ART is a 24-hour
general entertainment channel broadcasting from Egypt to the Middle East and
some parts of Australia.

We cannot allow politicians in the guise of theologians, irrespective of their
religion, to run Malaysia. We have a Federal Constitution with secular laws,
which forms the foundation of this country – and it should remain that way. Any
effort, big or small, to chip away this foundation must be stopped.

Moderate Malaysians should ignore the protest by PAS against the Mariah Carey
concert. PAS is living in the past and is simply passe.