It's only rock'n'roll, but does the minister like it?

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The Independent Culture

International rock bands who truly want to feel they have conquered the globe now face a new musical standard. Before being allowed to play in Malaysia they will have to win government approval.

Keen to monitor "undesirables", the government has said it will refuse entry to performers who fail its standards.

The decision comes direct from the Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who is insisting all groups submit a recording of a recent concert before being authorised to enter the country. And concerned that bands are polluting the minds of children, authorities will insist on vetting all material before a band is allowed to take the stage.

According to reports in local newspapers, several children have already been strip-searched by the authorities keen to discover any symbols or tattoos that may expose an allegiance. Consumer associations want a ban on music and books related to heavy metal music. Mr Badawi told the New Straights Times "it is only a precaution to keep out the undesirables and to protect youth. Our intention should not be misconstrued, as all we want is for good shows to be held here ... not shows that indirectly have a negative impact and that do not bring any benefit to anyone."

The Scorpions, a German heavy metal band that scored a UK hit with the ballad Wind of Change, are one of the first groups forced to apply for permission to play. The veteran rockers last played in a Malaysia to a crowd of 20,000 in 1996.

The group is hoping they pass the test with lyrics like "Take me to the magic of the moment, On a glory night, Where the children of tomorrow dream away, On the wind of change".

In 1988, the group played at the Moscow Music Peace Festival, which provided the inspiration for Wind of Change, and were later invited to the Kremlin to meet Mikhail Gorbachev.

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