Hong Kong pop star Denise Ho said the Malaysian government had denied her performance permit in Malaysia over her views on gay rights.
Ho, who is openly gay and outspoken on LGBT issues, was expected to perform in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, in April 2018.
Under both secular and religious laws, homosexual activity is illegal in Malaysia.
Cantonese pop culture and songs are quite popular in Malaysia, and ethnic Chinese makes up about 23% of Malaysia’s general population.
Ho apologized to fans for canceling the performance and gave details that she and her team had been told by phone that she would not be allowed to perform in Malaysia due to her being an active supporter of the LGBT community.
However, she received an official rejection letter on Thursday, which did not specify the reasons for her being denied performance permit in Malaysia.
Salleh Said Keruak, a Malaysia’s communications and multimedia minister, said Malaysia would welcome any artist who projects a wholesome value.
The minister added that all shows had to be in accordance with local laws and values.
However, an employee at the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia confirmed that Ho’s permit had been denied due to her role as an active LGBT activist.
The influence of religious fundamentalists has grown in Malaysia in recent years, triggering debates between religious hardliners against human right activists, who campaign for greater rights for the LGBT community.
In 2017, the Ministry of Health launched a contest for the young people on how to prevent homosexuality, sparking protests from the LGBT activists.
Malaysia had postponed the release of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast because it allegedly contained a gay moment, although the Malaysian censorship board finally conceded to show the movie uncut.
More details to follow. Image 1 of Denise Ho from CNN.