Mediacorp apologises for remarks on Najib in TV show

The apology concerned a segment in Channel 5's weekly live comedy show Ok Chope!, in which a panel of comedians including Mike Kasem, Sam See, Najip Ali and Rishi Budhrani give impromptu humorous takes on current affairs.
The apology concerned a segment in Channel 5's weekly live comedy show Ok Chope!, in which a panel of comedians including Mike Kasem, Sam See, Najip Ali and Rishi Budhrani give impromptu humorous takes on current affairs.PHOTO: TOGGLE.SG

Television and radio broadcaster Mediacorp has apologised for airing an "offensive" TV comedy segment containing remarks about Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The apology concerned a segment in Channel 5's weekly live comedy show OK Chope!, in which a panel of comedians, including Mike Kasem, Sam See, Najip Ali and Rishi Budhrani, gives impromptu humorous takes on current affairs.

In a statement posted on Mediacorp's website yesterday, the broadcaster said viewers have given feedback that they found the segment, aired last Wednesday, which contained references to Datuk Seri Najib, offensive.

Ms Debra Soon, chief customer officer at Mediacorp, said in the statement: "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.

"Last week's episode included references to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak which were in poor taste and offensive. We have thus pulled it from repeat telecast with immediate effect. We apologise unreservedly for this mistake."

Comedian Najip Ali, who appeared in the show, said in the same statement: "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."

After the episode was aired, Malaysian media reported that viewers were offended by the segment.

On Tuesday, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak told online news portal Free Malaysia Today: "It is extremely regrettable that something like this has happened. It shows a lack of sensitivity to the feelings of others."

Hosted by Vernetta Lopez, OK Chope! debuted last October and has made jokes about a wide range of topics, from Singapore's Michelin-starred restaurants to the national football team.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2017, with the headline 'Mediacorp apologises for remarks on Najib in TV show'. Print Edition | Subscribe