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Nepali artistes’ detention in Malaysia exposes how event organisers ignore laws of the destination country

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Jun 27, 2019-

The recent arrest of three Nepali artistes in Malaysia who had gone there to participate in a musical event has exposed how organisers have been taking professional entertainers for a ride, putting them at risk of legal consequences in foreign countries. 

Sujan Angdembe, Sunita Thegim and Shreya Rai were among the 32 people arrested from the event, organised by SOSG and MOC Group, at the Kotaraya Complex in Kuala Lumpur on the occasion of Eid on June 6.

The Nepali performers had entered the country on tourist visas and the event organisers had not secured permission from the authority for the show, which is against the local law.  

As per the Malaysian rule, the organiser—an individual or an organisation—needs to take permission from the local authority for organising any such events. Invited artistes need a special category of visa called – Visit Pass-Professional – for visiting Malaysia. 

According to an official at the Nepali embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the latest crackdown on the event exposes how organisers have been violating the immigration rules of the host countries to make money. 

“There has been a bad trend wherever there is a sizeable Nepali population. Some people see it as a potential market to make a quick buck and bring Nepali entertainers and performers to events without giving two hoots about local rules and regulations,” the official, who was not allowed to speak on the matter, told the Post. 

The Malaysian government has set up a new body called Permohonan Penggambaran Filem dan Peresenbahn Artis Luar Negara (PUSPAL)—the Central Agencies Committee for Applications for Filming and Performances by Foreign Artistes—which grants visas for professional entertainers coming to Malaysia for performance. 

“The show organisers and the artistes had not obtained the special visa for the event, which led to their arrest,” the embassy official said.

The local rule also states that fire engines, ambulances and security personnel should be at standby at the venue of any public event. However, SOSG and MOC Group, the show organiser, had not fulfilled these requirements. 

“Either these show organisers do not know the rules or they are trying to avoid possible hassles. But this is how it has been,” the official said. 

Comic actor and director Deepa Shree Niraula, says event organisers as well as artistes should be aware of the laws of the countries they are visiting for shows. She and her troupe of entertainers had cancelled their show in Malaysia that was also being held during Eid after learning that the organisers were planning to fly them to the country on tourist visas. 

“The event ultimately got cancelled because the artistes refused to go to Malaysia on tourist visas. The rule of the country has changed now. Foreign entertainers can no longer go there and do shows on tourist visas. They should be aware of these laws and so should the show organisers,” Niraula told the Post. 

A Malaysian court sent Bikram Rai, one of the event organisers, to six months in jail for breaching the rules and the performers were ordered to pay 300 Malaysian ringgit in fines. 

“The Nepali artistes will soon be returning home. But this incident should serve as a lesson for all organisers and artistes that they should abide by the law of the land,” the embassy official said.

A week after the Nepali entertainers were arrested in Kuala Lumpur, the Nepali embassy had issued a notice informing Nepali citizens about the advance permission and special visa required for artistes.

Published: 27-06-2019 09:06

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