Singapore media insensitive, says Salleh Keruak

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PETALING JAYA: Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak is annoyed with Singapore’s Mediacorp Channel 5 for airing a talk show in which the presenters had made jokes ridiculing Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Salleh said the incident showed the media owned by the Singapore government was indifferent to the sensitivities of Malaysia.

“It is extremely regrettable that something like this has happened. It shows a lack of sensitivity to the feelings of others,” he told FMT today.

He was commenting on an episode of the talk show “Ok Chope”, in which lawyer Vernetta Lopez and artistes Sam See, Najip Ali, Rishi Budhrani and Mike Kassim had poked fun at Najib.

Persatuan Seniman Malaysia (Seniman or Malaysian Artistes Association) has also urged the producers of the programme to apologise in writing, and on the programme, to the prime minister and the people of Malaysia.

Bernama reported Seniman president Rozaidi Jamil (better known as Zed Zaidi) as saying the association was giving Singaporean entertainer and celebrity host Najip Ali until Friday to apologise.

If the entertainer failed to do so, Seniman would lodge a police report against him.

If he fails do so, Seniman will also propose to the government not to allow him to appear on Malaysian TV shows.

Najip Ali is currently appearing as a jury member in Maharaja Lawak Mega 2017, a popular comedy show aired every Friday night on Astro.

He is alleged to have insulted and ridiculed the Malaysian prime minister while appearing in the 26th episode of the “OK Chope!” programme aired on Mediacorp Channel 5.

During the programme, the participants were asked to fill in the blank to complete the sentence which read: “Najib slams … for threatening Malaysia’s progress”.

The participants, including Najip Ali, had given various answers deemed insulting to and a public ridiculing of the Malaysian prime minister.

“By this contemptuous act of making the prime minister the butt of their jokes, the artistes try to offer comic relief to downcast Singaporean residents and workers struggling to cope with the increasingly high inflation and economic gloom in the country,” Seniman secretary-general Hafiz Nafiah said in a statement today.

He said the association would lead the effort to ban in Malaysia the work of the artistes involved in the insult, if an apology was not forthcoming.

Seniman will also file a police report on Friday.