Don’t make cultural heritage dance to tune of politics, says Pusaka

Eddin Khoo, founder of cultural organisation Pusaka, has dismissed the Kelantan government’s attempt to make Main Puteri acceptable for the general public as “irrelevant”.

Main Puteri is a traditional Malay medicinal ceremony that is still practised in the east coast, especially Kelantan.

In the past, playing the princess was very popular among the community as a form of entertainment in addition to its function as a treatment of diseases.

“It is a community ritual and a traditional and therapeutic form. It belongs to the community, inspired by the community and performed by and for the community.

“There is way too much government interference in culture and it is irrelevant if they (Kelantan government) want to approve the practice,” said Khoo, who was responding to Kelantan Unity, Culture, Heritage and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Md Anizam Abdul Rahman’s statement that the state government is reviewing Main Puteri performances to see if it is Syariah-compliant before it is allowed to be presented to the public.

“It is a centuries-old tradition. It has very deep philosophical and psychological structures.

“All these government interventions into the practice of culture in the state or communities are very disruptive and governments shouldn’t be involved in the first place.”

Md Anizam had in a Bernama report said a detailed study should be done as there were some things in the Main Puteri performance that were seen as not in line with Islamic demands.

He also said Kelantan has allowed Mak Yong to be staged for the public after discussions with the Kelantan National Culture and Arts Department.

The ban on Mak Yong was lifted last year after it was banned in the state in 1991. Wayang Kulit is another traditional art that has been banned in the state.

Khoo said reviews of such traditional activities should not happen in the first place and is part of a larger problem of people trying to change history.

“People are trying to revise history according to the cultural politics of our time.

“It leaves our culture disturbed when this happens,” said Khoo, who is working on a new public education project – Projek Bina Bangsa – to harness intellectual depth and a historical understanding of what it means to be Malaysian.

He said this was the result of an increasing ideologising of our society when things are not allowed to be semulajadi (natural).

“Government is essentially in the business of power. This is an excursion of power into very soulful and indigenous cultural expressions.”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.


Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, said in the Dewan Rakyat the retail ceiling price for three-ply face masks will be lowered to RM1 per piece. The wholesaler cost, meanwhile, is set at 95 sen.

The decision to reduce the retail price from RM1.50 to RM1.20 was first tabled to the Cabinet on July 17. The revised price will come in force on Aug 15.


Former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was charged at the Butterworth Sessions Court today with abusing his power to get RM372,009.00 for his wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng.

The 60-year-old, who was Penang Chief Minister from 2008 to 2018, claimed trial.

Lim is alleged to have used his position as chief minister to obtain the gratification for Chew through Excel Property Management & Consultancy Sdn Bhd.

Businesswoman Phang Li Koon, 48, was charged in the same court with abetting Lim.

Chew, meanwhile, claimed trial to three charges of money laundering.

She is alleged to have received RM87,009 from Excel Property Management and Consultancy Sdn Bhd. She is also alleged to have received from the company RM180,000 which was banked into the same account between Sept 3, 2014 and Aug 11, 2015.

The third charge was for allegedly receiving RM105,000 from the company between Sept 4, 2015 and March 3, 2016.


Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Mohamed Ghouse Nasuruddin says politicians spend most of their time politicking to get political mileage and to shore up their positions of power without much consideration for the welfare of the people.

In his article in Twentywo13, Mohamed Ghouse added such a political culture has also become part of academia and government-linked companies that operate on patronage rather than ability or expertise.