The 1975’s Kuala Lumpur kiss results in ‘kill switch’ order at future Malaysia shows

The 1975 frontman Matty Healy performing on stage

Malaysia has reportedly told concert organisers to introduce power kill switches at concerts after The 1975 frontman Matty Healy kissed his bandmate on stage at a festival in Kuala Lumpur. 

The indie band received backlash after Healy kissed the band’s bass player, Ross MacDonald, on stage at Malaysia’s Good Vibes Festival in July, with Healy claiming the incident led to him being “briefly imprisoned”

Healy said on stage that he had kissed MacDonald in protest of the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws, claiming the band playing in Malaysia had been a “mistake”. 

The band was criticised for the incident by local LGBTQ+ activists, who described the staged kiss as “giving white saviour complex” and claiming the incident could see increased scrutiny of the LGBTQ+ community by Malaysian officials. 

There was also praise for the band raising awareness of the poor LGBTQ+ rights in the country.

Now, concert organisers have reportedly been instructed to use kill-switches to avoid incidents like The 1975’s in July, with the deputy communications and digital minister Teo Nie Ching claiming the guidance had been issued as a direct consequence of the British band, The Star reported.

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“The government has asked concert organisers to… cut off electricity supply if there is any unwanted incident [during a performance],” she was reported as saying on Monday (30 October).

“This is a new guideline after the incident. We hope with stricter guidelines, foreign artists [will respect] local culture,” she added. 

Teo reportedly added that according to new guidelines, there would also be background checks on foreign artists before they could perform in Malaysia, and that authorities would be present at venues where they performed. 

“During a performance, we ensure that… the Immigration Department, Puspal, police and local authorities are at the venue,” she added.

In Malaysia, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by 20 years in prison. There are no laws that protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination or hate crimes, and conversion practices are widespread.

Malaysia was named the second-worst country in the world for trans rights in a 2023 global index, while Equaldex gave the country an LGBTQ+ equality rating of just 16 out of 100.

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