After Thai K-pop singer Lisa and her Blackpink bandmates, a group of Thai hunks are the latest performers to draw flak from local politicians as they prepare to go on stage in Malaysia.
Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) on Wednesday denounced the upcoming opening of Privacy Club Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur, which will feature waiters from Thai restaurant Staneemeehoi, famed for its dancing, cross-dressing employees in Bangkok.
“It is clear that this event promotes a culture of hedonism, obscenity and free sex based on the notice,” said PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan in a statement.
“It is in conflict with local culture and insensitive to the position of Islam as the official religion, let alone it being held in the month of Ramadan,” he added, urging the Kuala Lumpur city authorities to reconsider the legitimacy of holding this event.
An aide to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, political secretary Azman Abidin, on Wednesday said he had been informed by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) that the bar has not applied for an entertainment license or for permission to carry out entertainment activities.
DBKL will carry out a review on whether to take action if it is found that the organizers have violated any rules and regulations, he added.
The event is slated for March 30, during the month of Ramadan when most Muslims will, during daylight hours, abstain from food and drink, sex and immoral behavior ahead of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Ramadan starts on Thursday.
Apart from the waiters set to headline a program billed simply as “Thai Hot Guy”, Privacy Club Tun Razak will invite DJs to make up part of the evening’s entertainment.
Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the organizers should be mindful of Muslim sensitivities.
“It is best for such events not to be continued because they could create a certain uneasiness. This is because Muslims worldwide will be welcoming Ramadan. There must be mutual respect from those living in a multicultural society. They need to be aware of certain sensitivities of the respective communities,” he said.
PAS also expressed opposition to the club referencing former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak in its name, saying it “insults the good name of the country’s leader”.
Staneemeehoi is known for serving up beefy waiters as a unique selling point that differentiates it from other seafood eateries in the Thai capital.
Videos on social media show its well-sculpted employees dressed in women’s lingerie or Sailor Moon outfits cavorting with diners at their tables while music plays at regular intervals on regular nights at the restaurant.
The photogenic waiters have also been spotted in similarly stripped-down attire riding motorcycles as live advertising machinery for the restaurant while delivering meals and posing sultrily for photos with the restaurant’s customers.
Earlier, PAS youth chief Fadhli Shaari had rallied opposition against the club’s choice of guests.
“There is no need for a program like this to be given permission to operate, even more so in the honorable month of Ramadan! Please, stop it. Voice a mass protest,” he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
While the club’s opening has not been called off, the Malaysian government attempted to distance itself from the event.
Responding to a question from Mr Fadhli in Parliament on Wednesday, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Wilson Ugak Kumbong said the Thai Hot Guy event should not be associated with the government’s Malaysia Madani agenda, adding that such “unhealthy” programs should not take place in Malaysia. The word “madani” in Arabic carries the general meaning of civilized, or modern.
PAS’ disapproval of the Thai waiters comes after previous resistance against foreign performers.
Earlier in March, Dr Mastura Muhammad, an MP for Kepala Batas in Penang, accused the government of double standards for allowing a Blackpink concert despite its “deviant” nature, with the K-pop group putting on a show in attire that “violated societal decency”.