SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has described a statement put out by YouTuber Preeti Nair and her brother, which ostensibly apologised for their controversial rap video, as a "mock, insincere apology".
"It is a spoof of an earlier apology issued by Havas Worldwide for the e-pay advertisement," the ministry said on Friday (Aug 2).
"This spoofing is a pretence of an apology, and in fact shows contempt for the many Singaporeans who have expressed concern at their blatantly racist rap video," it added.
Earlier on Friday, Ms Nair - who is also known by her moniker Preetipls - and Mr Subhas Nair, a rapper, posted a statement on social media ostensibly apologising "for any hurt that was unintentionally caused" by their video, which is alleged to contain offensive content.
Their apology closely followed the wording of an apology statement issued by creative agency Havas and The Celebrity Agency (TCA), Mediacorp's celebrity management arm, which were involved in producing an ad that featured a Chinese actor in "brownface". The ad was to show that e-payment is for everyone.
E-payment firm Nets, which was also involved in the campaign, has apologised as well.
The Nair siblings had created their rap video in response to the e-payment ad, to call out the racism in it. In their video, the pair used vulgarities and the authorities said the video crossed the line and insulted Chinese Singaporeans.
MHA said on Friday that it was not the first time the siblings have expressed racist sentiments.
"About a year ago, Ms Nair published a video where she acted as a Chinese and mocked the Chinese community's practices, culture and traditions. She portrayed Chinese as money-minded gamblers," the ministry said.
"Mr Nair wrote a song recently that says that Singapore condones systemic discrimination," the ministry added.
The song was written for Mediacorp as part of this year's National Day celebrations and had the lyrics, "We live in a system that has normalised us... to walk oblivious to a brown man stopped and ID checked", the ministry said.
"This is blatantly false," it added.
The ministry said it takes action whenever there are offensive statements that breach the law, regardless of the race of the offender.
"In 2018, a 36-year-old Indian lady published comments that made racial insinuations. The police investigated her. Police in consultation with the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) issued her a stern warning," MHA explained.
It added: "In January this year, the police charged a Chinese man in court for deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of the Malay population. The man had scrawled racist messages about Malays on walls in void decks and sheltered walkways. His messages had been seen by far fewer people than the videos issued by Ms and Mr Nair."
It also said the police are continuing their investigations and taking advice from AGC.