Ballet show should go on, says Rais
KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — The Singapore Dance Theatre should be given the “appropriate approval” and allowed to perform in Malaysia, said Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.
“The show should just go on. There is no controversy. It’s a good show, and a segment of society loves ballet,” he told reporters today.
Rais (picture) said the problem arose because the KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC), where the performance was to have been held, had not sent in the application within the required period.
He claimed that Puspal, or the Central Agency for the Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes, had “just received” the application.
“KLPAC has a lot to answer for,” he said.
Last week, government officials alleged that KLPAC may have forged documents to prove it applied for permission to host the Singapore ballet troupe that had reportedly been barred because of “indecent” costumes.
The row has embarrassed officials and sparked concerns about their increasingly conservative attitude to the point of taking offence with the tutus worn by ballet dancers.
Puspal said last week that checks with the Visa, Passes and Permits Division of the Immigration Department found the authenticity of the documents to be “doubtful.”
It said in a statement that the serial number on the acknowledgment receipt of KLPAC’s application was the same as one produced two years ago and insisted an official request was only made last Wednesday.
Subsequently, KLPAC sent copies of its permit application for the Singapore Dance Theatre’s performance to Puspal as proof that it had submitted the necessary papers a month ago.
Its group theatre manager Ian Chow said the documents were faxed to Puspal director Ali Sadikin Sadin, who is also a principal assistant secretary in the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry.
Chow said the documents included the original application made on March 7 as well as an acknowledgment slip from the agency dated the same day.
“We maintain that we submitted the application on time but we remain committed to resolving this issue amicably,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
It is understood that Puspal will carry out an internal probe into the matter based on the documents submitted.
The performing arts centre has insisted that its production manager Freddy Tan submitted the application a month ago before being advised by an officer that the permit had been denied over “costumes” and “foreign performers”.
The Malaysian Insider had reported last week that the ballet troupe had been refused a permit to perform here last weekend owing to their “indecent” costumes. Organisers were eventually forced to cancel the “Ballet Illuminations” performance.
Last week, Rais insisted that the government did not reject the application, saying he “loves all forms of the arts and theatre” including ballet, and urged organisers to proceed with the performance.