SINGAPORE - Singaporean comedian Najip Ali may be axed as judge from a popular Malaysian TV show, Maharaja Lawak Mega 2017, 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.
The cable channel Astro, which airs Maharaja Lawak Mega, a reality competition for comedians, would not confirm the news.
When contacted by The Straits Times on Thursday (April 6), 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 the Maharaja Lawak Mega show on Friday to find out more."
The reality show also airs 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!, where 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".
Local broadcaster Mediacorp has apologised for "offensive" references to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and also pulled the episode from repeat telecast.
Malaysia's Foreign Ministry has taken note of the apology made by Singapore's Mediacorp and Najip, according to Malaysian press Bernama report.
The ministry's statement said that the Malaysian government viewed seriously the offensive comments and insinuations made against the Malaysian leadership, said Bernama.
Maharaja Lawak Mega (King Of Comedy) 2017 airs on Astro Warna (StarHub TV Channel 118) at 10pm on Fridays.