Malaysian government sends open letter to Radiohead
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Malaysian government sends open letter to Radiohead

A SENIOR member of the Malaysian government on Friday sent an open letter to UK rock group Radiohead, calling on the influential band to perform at a charity show in the Southeast Asian country.

Nurul Izzah, the vice-president of the ruling People’s Justice Party, issued the letter to Radiohead in a bid to fulfil one of her campaign promises in making the invitation.

This came after the shock election victory on May 9 which saw the defeat of the Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition that ruled for 60 years.

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“Malaysia has had a government in power that frowned upon creative expression and dissent, regularly pressuring international acts to cancel performances for not conforming to their standards,” Nurul said, adding the coalition had clamped down on acts that were overtly or covertly political.

Nurul said this year, however, Malaysians finally overthrew decades of single-party rule in favour of “progressive politics”.


Nurul Izzah Anwar, a member of the Malaysian parliament and the eldest daughter of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Source: AP

“And it is in this vein that we invite you to perform in Kuala Lumpur to cap off a year of celebration,” she told Radiohead.

The politician, who is the parliamentarian for the Permatang Pauh constituency in Penang, proposed a charity concert in support of the Palestinians.

Previously, the rock group led by charismatic and eccentric frontman Thom Yorke, has courted controversy for its shows in Israel, which some activist claimed was an insult to the Palestinian plight.

However, this did not deter Nurul said Malaysian understand that the band did not wish to deprive fans of its music.

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“A charitable concert to raise funds for the educational and social pursuit of young Palestinian children would rebalance criticism while reminding every one of the universality of music,” she said.

Nurul said the proceeds of the show can be directly channelled to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA).

“It is our hope that you will consider this proposal. Not just for the purpose of performing for a noteworthy cause, but to also give another reason to cheer in a year of many firsts for us.”