K Shanmugam; PAP

Government censorship board, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), has accused Law Minister K Shanmugam of backstabbing them saying that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had earlier approved the concert of metal band Watain.

Last week, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam claimed that he did not give the approval:

“I could not see how Watain could have been allowed to perform in Singapore due to the band’s anti-Christian song lyrics. I saw the lyrics – it’s four-letter words on Jesus Christ, on Christianity, on religion, abusing the cross – everything that is so far out that I can’t see how we could have agreed to it.”

Yesterday (Mar 11), the IMDA defended itself and revealed that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) actually gave the approval:

“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was among the relevant parties that were consulted before the Watain concert was given the go-ahead.”

Civil servant IMDA’s cluster director of communications and marketing Karen Low, said the metal band’s performance was allowed after the band agree to comply with local regulations on their song content:

“Given the band’s history and concerns expressed by MHA, IMDA allowed the Watain concert with a rating of ‘Restricted 18 (R18)’. IMDA also imposed stringent requirements including the removal of songs which are religiously offensive, that the band could not make references to religion or use religious symbols, and that no ritualistic acts were to be performed on stage. This is consistent with IMDA’s treatment of similar performances in the past. In assessing and classifying content for arts performances and concerts, IMDA aims to protect the young from unsuitable content, maintain community norms and values, and safeguard public interest, while enabling adults to make informed choices.”

IMDA said that they only imposed the ban on the day the performance was due to take place on Mar 7, after MHA made a request.

After the ban, Law Minister K Shanmugam went to the state media singing about how he would not allow such a band to perform, in a move to score political points among the Christian community. The PAP millionaire minister omitted the fact that he allowed the band to perform in the first place.