Mediacorp apologises for 'offensive' comedy segment on Malaysian PM 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 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

SINGAPORE - 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 give impromptu humorous takes on current affairs. In a statement posted on Mediacorp's website on Wednesday (April 5), the broadcaster said that viewers have given feedback that they found the segment containing references to Mr Najib, aired on March 29, 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, who appeared in the show, said in the same release: "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 in October last year and has made jokes about a wide range of topics, from Singapore's Michelin-starred restaurants to the national football team Singapore Lions.