In its editorial on June 7, the Sin Chew Daily urges all to prevent foreigners from smearing the reputation of Malaysia
Hong Kong actress Grace Lam lately feigned a snatch theft incident to gain attention, drawing the wrath of Malaysians.
Lam pretended to be snatched by a passing motorist while doing a Facebook live broadcast in Bentong. She later told the Hong Kong media she was robbed.
After the incident gained widespread attention in Hong Kong as well as in Malaysia, she clarified on her Facebook account that it was a misunderstanding. The incident was subsequently proven to be just a prank.
Even though the thing has come to a close now, the irreversible damage on the country's image has been done.
In view of that, IGP Khalid Abu Bakar said the police would propose to bar her from entering Malaysia again in future.
The incident has since shot Lam to instant stardom as media across Asia reported the case. Her motive of stealing public attention has been achieved, albeit at the expense of Malaysia's international reputation.
While we have to admit that public security in this country indeed has much room for improvement, there is no way we should allow a foreigner to wickedly smear the country's reputation with such a brainless prank.
Lam's mean behaviour deserves to be reprimanded in the strongest terms. Although she has subsequently closed her FB account, the move is nevertheless a reflection of her ostrich-like attitude. As the culprit who started it all, she has an inevasible duty to clarify this matter and clear the name of our country.
It is not something new for artistes to cook up issues to boost their popularity, and this has become a norm in a place with such a well developed showbiz industry like Hong Kong.
Lam's manager Andy Ma said carelessly that it was very common for artistes in Hong Kong to cook up news. One thing we must stress is that here is Malaysia, not Hong Kong. Moreover, what Lam did has had a negative impact on our country's image and reputation.
Sadly, when news of Lam being snatched first came into public knowledge, many Malaysians started to lash out at the authorities for the lax public security.
As a matter of fact, we shouldn't have danced to the tune of these irresponsible people. We must try to find out the truth with a sober mind and defend the country's good image.
With fake news spreading all around us like never before, it is essential that we carefully analyse the authenticity of a piece of news we read instead of rushing out our comments.
It is normal for artistes to fight for more media exposure in an increasingly competitive entertainment industry.
However, we need to emphasise a point that there is a limit to what they should do. Feigning a robbery for own publicity has apparently gone overboard and must be sternly censured by us all.
Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 newspapers.