M'sia readies 'kill switch' for Coldplay concert to avoid potential Matty Healy rumpus repeat

The kill switch for foreign artists' concerts was proposed after the 2023 Good Vibes Festival incident.

Tan Min-Wei | November 22, 2023, 04:46 PM


Malaysia's communication and digital minister, Fahmi Fadzil has said that the Nov. 22nd Coldplay concert will employ a “kill switch”, able to stop the concert on short notice.

Rush of blood to the head

Fahmi confirmed on Nov. 22nd that there would be a ‘kill switch’ for Coldplay’s Nov. 22 concert, as reported by the Malay Mail.

The kill switch would cut the stage’s electrical power supply and thus ensure the concert would not be able to continue, to be used in case the band were to do or say something objectionable.

Implementation for such a kill switch for foreign performers' concerts came about after an incident with another British band, The 1975, earlier in 2023.

Band frontman Matty Healy performed a same-sex kiss with a band mate during the 2023 Good Vibes Festival.

The 1975 left Malaysia without being detained, but left behind much controversy and anger over their actions, although it should be noted that Healy and the 1975 are known for provocative gestures during their concerts.

The incident and Malaysia's reaction to it gained international notoriety, reported by outlets such as the Guardian.


British rock band Coldplay is due to play a sold out concert in Kuala Lumpur in the evening of Nov. 22, its first concert in Malaysia.

The concert caused much excitement for the band’s Malaysian fans, with tickets selling out in three hours.

But it also drew a certain amount of criticism from conservative parts of Malaysian society, who claimed that the band and its front-man Chris Martin were pro-LGBT.

Martin has been known to wave a rainbow flag, often used as a pro-LGBT symbol, on stage, a gesture that is replicated in the concert tours promotional material.

Because of this, Malaysian detractors called for the concert to be cancelled, a call that redoubled as the date of the concert approached.

Malaysian political parties, particularly those in the opposition Perikatan Nasional bloc, also said it was inappropriate for the concert to continue due to the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Fixing them

These concerns were shared by religious conservatives in Indonesia, where Coldplay played on Nov. 15.

A small group of around 300 protested the concert.

However, despite these concerns, Coldplay seems to have read the mood of the country, and apparently did not perform with the rainbow flag during the Indonesia concert.

There have also not been complaints about Coldplay's behaviour during the Indonesia concert, which was also sold out.

Fahmi also addressed the second part of the concerns of Coldplay's critics, about whether it was appropriate to hold the concert during the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Both Fahmi and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim have noted that Coldplay have previously taken up pro-Palestinian positions.

Anwar even said in parliament that there were lobby groups that were pressuring him to ensure that the concert would go on, because of Coldplay's support.

In their place

Fahmi took a more pragmatic line about the conduct of the concert, indicating that his main concern was about how concert goers would travel to the event.

As quoted by the Malay Mail, Fahmi simply urged concert goers to take public transport.

“"If there's one thing I would advise to all who are going, please try to use public transport. God willing, public transport will be will be available until very late.”

Meanwhile, the Malay Mail also reported that the band arrived in Malaysia via private jet from Perth on the evening of Nov. 21.

The band apparently went straight to Bukit Jalil National Stadium to perform sound checks.

Malaysian fans have turned up early to get into the stadium, with social media showing several hundred fans already inside at 4:30pm.

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Top image via Coldplay/Facebook & Bukit Jalil/Facebook