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    Two major concerts brought forward to observe Maal Hijrah

    (Updated )

    Two separate concerts this Saturday by foreign artistes have been brought forward to observe the Maal Hijrah (Awal Muharam) prayers later in the evening.

    Over in Kuala Lumpur, the Indian singer SP Balasubrahmanyam's concert at Plenary Hall, KLCC, will kick off at 3pm instead of 7pm.

    This was announced yesterday by the concert organiser Raaghav Production on its Facebook page.

    "We were notified, only recently, that there should not be any performances after 7.30pm (sunset) on August 31 as it clashes with Awal Muharam celebrations.

    "Puspal and Jakim have raised (concerns) that conducting the show after 7.30pm might cause uneasiness among the Muslims which could lead to racial controversies," said the organiser.

    Puspal referred to the Central Agencies Committee for Applications for Filming and Performances by Foreign Artistes, while Jakim referred to the Islamic Development Department. Both are federal government agencies.

    All foreign artistes must receive permission from Puspal to perform in Malaysia.

    Raaghav Productions said it was trying to contact ticket holders to inform them of the change in performance time.

    "We, at Raaghav Productions, have put in all our effort and tried our level best to explain to the authorities that SPB's Illaya Nila show is a closed-door event and will not in any way disrespect the Awal Muharam celebrations or cause any issues, but our pleas were not accepted," said the company.

    When contacted, Raaghave Productions' spokesperson said the company will only provide further details at a press conference tonight in Petaling Jaya.

    SP Balasubrahmanyam, better known as SPB, is a renowned singer, composer and music director. He is 73-years old.

    Meanwhile, over at Shah Alam, Taiwanese singer Bobby Chen's concert this Saturday at Stadium Melawati, originally scheduled for 7.30pm, has been brought forward to 12pm.

    The organiser, Soul9s Production, said the decision was undertaken to make way for the state government's Maal Hijrah event.

    The company said those who wish to obtain a refund can do so before Aug 29. The company also apologised for the change of plans.

    Selangor exco member Ng Sze Han said the organiser's decision was a "win-win" situation because the concert will end before the Maal Hijrah crowd starts converging at the nearby Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque for prayers.

    He said that the Selangor ruler Sharafuddin Idris Shah will also be at the prayers.

    "Once the concert is over (at 3pm), concert-goers will leave the venue without traffic congestion," he said, according to Sinchew Daily.

    He said no one was "being oppressed" as the concert was still taking place.

    At the time of writing, Soul9s Production has not responded to a request for comments.

    Chen, 60, has 25 studio albums under his belt. He is also banned from mainland China.

    Selangor MCA head Ng Chok Sin said the change of time for Chen's concert was a manifestation of the Islamisation by the Selangor government.

    "Will this set a precedent for other non-Muslim events? This kind of policy makes a mockery of Selangor's 'developed state' claim," he said.

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