Singaporean comedian Najip Ali may be axed as judge from a popular Malaysian TV show, Maharaja Lawak Mega, following an uproar over "offensive" remarks he made about Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Mediacorp Channel 5's live comedy show OK Chope!.
This was reported by Utusan Online, citing sources.
Cable channel Astro, which airs Maharaja Lawak Mega, a reality competition for comedians, would not confirm the news.
When contacted by The Straits Times yesterday, Mr Raqim Ahmad, Astro's head of Malay entertainment, said, "At the moment, we will not be commenting. We have advised the media to attend Maharaja Lawak Mega to find out more", referring to tonight's show.
The reality show also airs live in Singapore on cable TV channel Astro Warna (StarHub TV Channel 118) on Fridays at 10pm.
Najip, 50, in response to The Straits Times' queries, expressed his remorse and apologies in a statement released through local broadcaster Mediacorp.
He says: "In hindsight, our comments were in poor taste and offensive. Those of us who participated in the show regret the episode and are truly sorry to those we have let down."
The Malaysian media reported that viewers there were offended by comments made on March 29's episode of OK Chope!, during which a panel of comedians gave impromptu humorous takes on current affairs. According to The Star, Najip was one of the panellists who were asked to fill in the blank to complete the sentence "Najib slams… for threatening Malaysia's progress".
Mediacorp has apologised for "offensive" references to Datuk Seri Najib and pulled the episode from repeat telecast.
Malaysia's Foreign Ministry has taken note of the apology made by Mediacorp and Najip, according to Malaysian press Bernama.
The ministry's statement said the Malaysian government viewed seriously the offensive comments and insinuations made against the Malaysian leadership, the news agency reported.
•Maharaja Lawak Mega (King Of Comedy) airs on Fridays at 10pm on Astro Warna (StarHub TV Channel 118).