Singaporean comedian Najip Ali, 50, has been dropped as a judge on popular Malaysian TV show Maharaja Lawak Mega 2017 and will be replaced by Malaysian TV host Aznil Haji Nawawi, also known as Pak Nil, 54.
The cable channel Astro, which airs Maharaja Lawak Mega (King Of Comedy), a reality competition for comedians, announced the change via its Astro Gempak Facebook page on Friday (April 7).
Najip landed in hot water after Malaysian viewers were offended by comments he made about Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak while on Mediacorp Channel 5's live comedy show OK Chope! on March 29, where a panel of comedians joke about current affairs.
According to Malaysian newspaper The Star, Najip was asked to complete the sentence "Najib slams… for threatening Malaysia's progress". His response caused an uproar in Malaysia, and prompted calls for his dismissal from the Malaysian comedy show.
Najip has since apologised and expressed remorse for his comments.
In response to The Straits Times' queries, he said in a statement released through local broadcaster Mediacorp: "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."
A separate statement issued by Mediacorp on Thursday (April 6) night stated: "Our production team continues to reflect on the incident and learn from it. We also hope that Najip will be given the space he needs to manage through this difficult period."
Pak Nil will replace Najip starting on Friday night, when Maharaja Lawak Mega 2017 airs live on Astro Warna (StarHub TV Channel 118) at 10pm.