Abby Abadi: Muslim artistes will work only after Pakatan takes power
KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — Popular local actress Abby Abadi said today that devout Muslim artistes will only work in the creative industry again after Pakatan Rakyat (PR) topples the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government from Putrajaya at the 13th general elections due soon.
The former star of hit Malay television drama "Gerak Khas" is among a growing line-up of increasingly politically-aware Muslim celebrities who have recently flocked to join PAS, one-third of the opposition PR pact that is going toe-to-toe against the BN in key national polls that could see a regime change in Malaysia for the first time since independence in 1957.
"When you migrate the space to be creative is quite limited, those who act and dance, need film, drama and shows that are Islamic," Abby (picture) told The Malaysian Insider.
"Artistes like us will only work in the creative industry when there is a 'field' that is in line with Islamic Syariah," she said.
Abby added that she and her other like-minded artistes "must stay with PAS to get administrative power in this general elections so there can be a new government that can govern based on the Quran and the hadith and ensure there is a Syariah-friendly entertainment industry".
The actress, whose real name is Arbaiyah Abdul Manan, was rebutting local cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, popularly known as Zunar, who had chided mainstream Malay celebrities for joining PR only to go on the stump and neglect their work as artistes.
Zunar (picture) had told The Malaysian Insider in an interview that the opposition pact should support artistes financially and give them space to be creative.
But Abby, who is seen to be a poster girl for PAS since joining the Islamist party last week, said creative spaces for artistes in Malaysia, especially for Muslim women, is limited, if they insisted on sticking to their religious ideals.
She disagreed with Zunar's remark that PR states had neglected the arts, saying a real Islamic-styled artistic world can only exist after PAS takes federal power.
"States under PR are giving attention to the (arts and entertainment) industry, because they have admitted that this industry is influential.
"Only at the a policy level, PR must win and hold 'federal power' to realise an arts industry based on the Syariah," she said.
PAS appears to be making inroads in wooing local artistes and establishment figures to their camp in the run-up to the polls.
Apart from Abby, notable celebrities include musician Bob Lokman who has penned several songs for PR, which have been uploaded on YouTube.