Zainal Abidin: We have not been paid for SEA Games show

zainal-sukan-sea-2017PETALING JAYA: Two months after the star-studded closing ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games 2017 (KL2017), several artistes have claimed they have yet to be paid for their performances.

One of the performers, singer Zainal Abidin, said the organisers should pay them as agreed in their contracts.

“It’s not just ministers who want a life of luxury. We artistes also want a good life,” Zainal told Malaysiakini today.

The pop icon said he was told that Putrajaya had appointed a company to handle the payments for the performers who took part in the closing ceremony, which was held on the eve of Merdeka.

An unhappy Zainal said he had asked his lawyers to secure payment from the company.

“I’m forced to do this because the company hasn’t made the payments. We are not balls that can be kicked around,” Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.

The issue first came to light when singer-actress Adibah Noor posted about it on Twitter yesterday.

Writing in Malay, she expressed sadness that “friends performing at the SEA Games closing ceremony had yet to receive payment”.

Adibah said in one of her tweets that she was told the payment was delayed due to preparations for the 2018 Budget.

She expressed hope that the payment would be expedited, adding that it was not just the celebrities who had not received any payment but also other performers, including dancers and children.

Besides Zainal, other celebrities who performed at the closing ceremony included Ella, Amy Search and David Arumugam of the Alleycats.

David, however, said he was not worried about the delay as he had worked with the company before and trusted them.

Celebrity host Aznil Nawawi told Malaysiakini that he had been paid in full.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian SEA Games organising committee (Masoc) told the portal that the company in charge of payroll had been appointed through a tender by the youth and sports ministry.

“So, whether an artiste has been paid or not, that is the company’s business. The artistes involved should refer to them,” a Masoc media officer told the news portal.

“As of now, Masoc has paid out on more than 50% of the contracts for the opening and closing ceremonies on behalf of the government.”