PUSPAL Application Procedures
The application process is meant to be a streamlined one-step process under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia. However, due to all the different agencies who make up the committee, there are different requirements for submission to each agency.
Below is a brief guide:
Applicants may choose to ‘pre-apply’ to get an idea as to whether the committee is likely to approve a foreign production or filming. This process is done prior to the official application and ensures that the official application stands a better chance.
For the pre-application, an official application letter needs to be submitted, containing:
- The background/biodata of the foreign artist;
- Song lyrics included in the proposed performance;
- Recorded performances of the foreign artist;
- The latest video clips of the foreign artist’s performances;
- Any other relevant documents (if required).
Following the pre-application, approval may be given. However, an official application would still be required and PUSPAL’s approval may be revoked if the performance is deemed to be damaging to “the country’s interest” (According to the guidelines, “what constitutes as “the country’s interest” shall be determined solely by the Government and such determination shall be final and may not be contested.”)
Official Application Procedures
Formal applications must be done by downloading forms via the PUSPAL website. The forms should be filled out and submitted together with the relevant necessary documents (including foreign artist withholding tax) as pertaining to the application.
Hard copy applications (for productions in Peninsular Malaysia) should be sent to:
Chairman of JK-PUSPAL
Ministry of Communications and Multimedia of Malaysia
24th Floor, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Complex
Lot 4G9, Persiaran Perdana
For productions taking place in Sabah or Sarawak, two sets of the formal application should be prepared. One copy for PUSPAL at the above address, and another should be sent to:
For productions in Sabah:
Sabah State Secretary
Domestic and Research Affairs
Sabah Chief Minister’s Department
4th Floor, Wisma Innoprise
88817 Kota Kinabalu
For productions in Sarawak:
Sarawak State Secretary
Chief Minister’s Department
(General Administration and Public Affairs Unit)
8th Floor, Wisma Bapa Malaysia
Following the application the committee’s decision will be made available to the applicant via writing, telephone or fax, e-mail or via the Ministry’s website.
Applications may be rejected for the following reasons:
- The application is incomplete;
- The applicant is directly involved with a prohibited industry (see: Prohibitions);
- Payments (as stipulated by the relevant government agency) have not been made;
- The applicant has breached conditions laid out in the guidelines;
- The local authority or government agency has jurisdiction over the performance in the application;
- The performance touches on a subject deemed as harmful to the interest of the general public (see: Prohibitions);
- Or any other reason deemed reasonable by the committee.
Performance sponsors shall not involve the following:
- Anything prohibited by Malaysian law;
- Anything pertaining to religious, racial and cultural issues of Malaysia;
- Cigarette or tobacco brands;
- Sex products;
- Gambling brands;
- Liquor brands (conditions apply)
Open air performances are prohibited from taking place on the following days:
- Between the 25th of August and the 16th of September;
- Throughout the month of Ramadhan;
- On religious public holidays (unless allowed by the relevant religious or local authority);
- On the day of decease of the Agong or Sultan of the state in which the performance will take place;
- On any other day deemed unsuitable by the local or national government.
Supervision and Monitoring
As part of their supervision and monitoring of successful applications, performance organisers must allocate twenty (20) tickets and any amount of passes at least seven (7) days before the beginning of the performance. For film production, PUSPAL must be allowed to attend the filming on location. Organisers must give full cooperation to the members carrying out the monitoring, including giving them permission for image or video recording of the performance (for PUSPAL records).
Breaches of Guidelines
In the advent of a breach of PUSPAL guidelines, legal action may be taken against the performance organiser or its agents. First time offenders will be issued a warning letter detailing the breach of guidelines. Second time offenders will be issued a show-cause letter and will be required to provide an explanation within fourteen (14) days of the letter. If the explanation is deemed to be invalid, the organiser will be required to attend a PUSPAL committee meeting to further explain the reasons for their offense to the committee. If that explanation is deemed to be unfit, the organiser may be blacklisted for a period of three (3) to six (6) months depending on PUSPAL’s consideration.
Things to note:
- When submitting a formal application, allow enough time between the submission and the date of the performance as there have been cases where the approval comes in late, making it difficult to get valid official documentation for the relevant foreign artiste. Applications should ideally be made three (3) months in advance.
- Industry players have requested that there be greater accountability, transparency, a more detailed censorship guideline, and clear reasoning on rejected applications from PUSPAL.
- Suggestions have been made that individuals and/or bodies involved in the arts and film industries should be involved in the PUSPAL committee as the committee has so much weight over these industries and those involved.
- The responsibility of attaining the relevant certified documents falls on the organiser. Industry suggestions have been made that this responsibility should fall on the committee due to inter-government coordination being simpler within the committee itself.