Mediacorp Channel 5 has released a statement apologising to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. This comes after the national broadcaster aired an episode of its comedy show OK Chope! which was deemed offensive by viewers.
The show which is a weekly one which features comedians providing humorous takes on news and current affairs. During the show, host Vernetta Lopez asked her guests to complete the sentence: “Najib slams — for threatening Malaysia’s progress”. To which commedian Najip Ali said: “Najib with a ‘b’ slams Najip with a ‘p’.”
Other responses included the reference to the RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal account and Umno’s 2013 general election campaign. Soon after the show was aired, the show’s comments were called out by Malaysian entities such as the Selangor Umno Youth and Persatuan Seniman Malaysia,
Mediacorp’s chief customer officer, Debra Soon and freelance artiste Najip Ali, who appears on the show, said the episode which included references to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was “in poor taste and offensive”.
“We have thus pulled it from repeat telecast with immediate effect. We apologise unreservedly for this mistake. The Channel 5 and the production team behind OK Chope! wish to sincerely apologise to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for a segment on last week’s episode,” she said.
Najip Ali said, “Over the last few days I have reflected on the comments I made during a segment on a Channel 5 comedy show which referenced Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. I realise how insensitive and callous I was. I would like to apologise unreservedly to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. I beg his forgiveness and that of my viewers and friends.”
Marketing understands the main target audience for the show is Singaporean viewers and Mediacorp did not face any backlash.