Singer Denise Ho says her concert in Malaysia in April has been cancelled because of her active support of the LGBT community.

The concert, part of her Dear Self, Dear World world tour, was scheduled to take place on April 14 in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Cantonese-language songs, drama, and pop culture are popular in Malaysia.

“Malaysian friends, I am very sorry,” Ho wrote on her social media page. “After our partners tried hard for two weeks, we received official notice by phone the day before yesterday that my working visa was not approved. According to a colleague who picked up the call, it was because of my role in the LGBT community: ‘because she is an active supporter of the LGBT community.’”

Denise Ho
Denise Ho. Photo: Facebook.

Ho said the official document she received on Thursday did not give an official reason, but a translated phrase said: “A number of issues need to be addressed if the artist is brought in for the performance of this country.” Her promoter said that it was due to her support of LGBT causes.

“I would be lying if I said I am not disappointed about being rejected for my identity,” she said.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia. Offenders can be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Denise Ho
A poster of Denise Ho’s world tour. Photo: Facebook.

“In this era, there are governments which reject foreign people, which are afraid of people speaking of the truth, and which suppress people’s self-identity. This is a struggle between the old system and the world – from another angle, this may be an inevitable process in the changing world,” she said.

Ho vowed to continue advocating for LGBT rights: “I hope one day people can travel to every corner of the world freely, regardless of ideals, to be their truest selves.”

A statement later released in English by Ho said: “The unreasonable censorship imposed by the Malaysian government is a major setback to the advocacy [of] diversity and inclusion, which should be embraced and protected at all costs.”

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.