PETALING JAYA - The Erykah Badu concert scheduled to be held today at the KL Convention Centre has been cancelled.
The authorities disallowed the concert on grounds that it would be against the guidelines of the Foreign Artiste Performance and Film Screening Central Application Agency (Puspal).
The announcement was made by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim yesterday via his Twitter account.
"The Erykah Badu concert is cancelled due to it going against Puspal guidelines which touches on religious sensitivity and Malaysian cultural values," Dr Rais tweeted.
It is learnt that the concert organisers were trying to appeal the decision.
Pineapple Concerts Sdn Bhd managing director Razman Razali said they were working up until the eleventh hour to rectify the issues that they were facing.
"Erykah Badu and Pineapple Concerts will still like to carry on with the show," he said in an SMS text message last night.
Dr Rais, when contacted, said the can- cellation of the concert was justified, saying: "With the graphic exhibition of Allah' on the body of the singer, it is sufficient to warrant irrefutable religious controversies from among Muslims who disdain such practice."
He said that to proceed with such public performance would only attract bigger and more cascading difficulties "the likes of which we cannot afford to have under present circumstances".
"Symbolism of Allah' and Prophet Muham-mad in the realm of the exhibitive entertainment is not in the order of the Ummah's acceptance," Dr Rais noted.
Meanwhile, The Star received a show cause letter from the Home Ministry, giving the daily seven days to reply over the use of a photograph of the American singer bearing tattoos of the Arabic word for Allah in its publication on Monday.
An apology was made by The Star via its online news portal and Twitter the same day. The newspaper's managing editor, chief news editor and senior editor were called up by the Home Ministry to explain the use of the photograph.
Yesterday, the newspaper published another apology in its print version, saying the photograph was inadvertently published in Star2.
The Star, in its apology, said it deeply regrets any offence caused to Muslims.
PAS Youth, Perlis mufti Dr Juanda Jaya and Perkasa have criticised the newspaper over the matter.
PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan and Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said cancelling the concert was a right move.
Harussani said Badu should not be allowed to perform here as she had "polluted the sanctity of Islam".