Beyonce Knowles, R&B star has scrapped plans to stage her first concert in Muslim-majority Malaysia amid speculation she objected to a strict dress code barring sexy attire, industry officials said Monday.
Knowles will instead head for neighboring Indonesia, which although also Muslim has less stringent rules about how performers should dress and behave.
Knowles' Los Angeles-based talent agency, International Creative Management, said Knowles' Nov. 1 date with Kuala Lumpur had to be broken "due to a scheduling conflict," according to an ICM statement made available by Malaysian entertainment organizers Pineapple Concerts.
The announcement followed recent speculation that Knowles - who is famous for her sexy image and skimpy outfits - was reluctant to fulfill the Malaysian government's demand for female performers to cover up from the top of their chests to their knees, including their shoulders.
"It is with regret that we announce the cancellation of The Beyonce Experience World Tour in Kuala Lumpur," the ICM statement said. "It was to mark the very first time the performer would bring her show to Malaysia."
Knowles will perform Nov. 1 in Jakarta instead, the statement said, adding that Knowles "is looking forward to performing for all her fans in Kuala Lumpur in the near future."
Pineapple Concerts Chairman Razlan Ahmad Razali said his company, which has brought Western acts such as Kanye West and Earth, Wind and Fire to Malaysia, was "disappointed and frustrated."
Razlan declined to comment on the rumors that Knowles balked at Malaysia's decency code. However, he noted that besides Indonesia, Knowles is now slated to travel over the next month to many other Asian countries, including Thailand, China and India.
"Though Indonesia is also a Muslim country, it doesn't have all these issues that we have," Razlan told The Associated Press. "She can perform as she likes there."
Concert promoters have said Western performers face mounting pressure in Malaysia to keep skimpy clothes and steamy dance moves off the stage amid protests by conservative Muslims who believe liberal Western performances can corrupt youths.
Pop star Gwen Stefani made what she called "a major sacrifice" in August by donning clothes that revealed little skin at a Kuala Lumpur stadium concert after Muslim students and activists called for the performance to be canceled because of Stefani's sultry reputation.
A Pussycat Dolls show led to its Malaysian organizers being fined last year after the U.S. girl group was accused of dressing too scantily and flaunting "sexually suggestive routines."