KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - All hotels in Malaysia will be asked to give priority to local entertainers, who have complained they were being shunned in favor of foreign performers, a Cabinet minister said Friday.
Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Rais Yatim said the Cabinet has approved plans to set up a panel to work with hoteliers to ensure that capable local singers and bands are given equal employment opportunities.
The panel - comprising tourism, information and local authority officials - will prepare a list of local talents which it will promote to hotels, night spots and other entertainment outlets in the country, he said.
Rais didn't say what action the panel would take to ensure hotels give priority to local singers, nor if there would be any penalties imposed if hotels flouted the guideline.
"Some hotels don't hire local entertainers at all. They only like to hire foreigners ... notably from Europe, Philippines and Indonesia. We want to have balance opportunity for our local performers," Rais told reporters.
"This is in no way to say that we are stopping foreigners from coming to Malaysia to perform.... we are just saying: please give our locals a chance to entertain."
Malaysia already has strict guidelines for entertainment in hotels and commercial premises. Foreign artists are only allowed to perform at four-star or better hotels, though some exceptions are made for three-star hotels in tourist resorts.