KOTA BARU: Kelantan will make history today when, for the first time in 17 years, it has a female artiste to grace its programme and the lucky person is Maya Karin.

Since coming into power, the PAS-led state government has banned female artistes from performing live or attending state-run activities as their voices are said to be arousing, and this also applies to the annual Quran recital competition.

Maya, who shot to fame after starring in the Pontianak blockbusters, will be attending the inaugural Kelantan Mini-Fest 2007, a film festival comprising 14 international works of fiction, documentaries and short films at the Balai Islam in Lundang.

Since retaining Kelantan in 2004, the PAS-led state has begun to relax its rigid policies. It allowed outdoor concerts but only featuring male artistes, let more hair salons to operate and lifted the ban on snooker and billiard parlours.

Maya’s presence will mark another breakthrough in permitting more recreational and entertainment activities in the state.

State Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan told a press conference that this was the first time Kelantan was hosting a film festival. The organiser is the state-owned Darul Digital Animation School.

Maya will be participating with renowned Iranian film director Majid Majidi in a dialogue with panellists Mamat Khalid and Dr Hatta Azad Khan, who are local film directors.

The Colour of Paradise directed by Majid was voted by Time magazine as one of the top 10 films in 2000.

A film festival is considered unique in Kelantan because there has been no operating cinema or cineplex since 1995 after the state ruled that lights must be switched on during screenings and that female patrons must be segregated from the males.