UMNO youth chief calls on government to ban comedian Jocelyn Chia from entering Malaysia
The US-based comedian made headlines after a video clip of her performing at a comedy club in New York City went viral and stirred controversy for a joke that referenced the lost MH370 plane.
KUALA LUMPUR: The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) youth chief Muhamad Akmal Saleh on Friday (Jun 9) called on the Malaysian government to ban comedian Jocelyn Chia from entering the country.
This comes after the US-based comedian reportedly made jokes about Singapore's relationship with Malaysia in one of her routines. She also made a reference to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
MH370 was an international passenger flight operated by Malaysia Airlines that left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing in March 2014 but never arrived.
In a Facebook post, Mr Akmal said that Chia’s remarks have insulted Malaysians and the families of MH370 victims.
“We urge the government to ban Jocelyn Chia from entering (Malaysia),” he said after submitting an official memorandum of protest at the US Embassy in Malaysia on Friday.
Mr Akmal said that the physical presence at the embassy gives a clear message that the party will not tolerate anyone who attempts to insult the country.
“Freedom of speech must be infused with manners and mature thinking,” he added.
About 100 representatives from UMNO youth and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) were seen by CNA outside the embassy on Friday. UMNO and MCA are component parties of Barisan Nasional.
Only two representatives were allowed to submit the memorandum at the embassy. The remaining representatives were stopped around 60m to 100m away from the gate.
During his policy speech on Thursday at the UMNO 2023 general assembly, Mr Akmal said that the comments made by Chia on Malaysia “is an insult that cannot be accepted by UMNO youth and all Malaysians”.
He added that he had instructed members of the UMNO youth executive council to file a police report against Chia.
A video clip of Chia performing stand-up at the Comedy Cellar club in New York sparked controversy among Malaysians when she was seen making jokes about Singapore's relationship with Malaysia.
She commented on Singapore's separation from Malaysia in 1965, saying that Singapore has gone on to become a first-world country and that Malaysia was "still a developing" one.
Chia also said that Malaysian airplanes "can't fly" and that "some jokes don't land", in an apparent reference to Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which went missing on Mar 8, 2014.
On Thursday, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon published a statement, saying he’s “appalled by the gratuitously offensive comments made by Jocelyn Chia”. He reiterated that Chia was no longer a Singaporean and that her views did not reflect those of the Singapore Government.
Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday said that Singapore is sorry for the offence and hurt caused to all Malaysians over statements made by the comedian.
In a reply to a Twitter post by Malaysia's former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq, Dr Balakrishnan said he was appalled by her horrendous statements.
"She certainly does not speak for Singaporeans," said Dr Balakrishnan, adding that Singapore treasures its "ties with family and friends in Malaysia".
Malaysia's Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir also condemned Chia's "lack of sensitivity and empathy" towards Malaysians and the families of MH370 victims.
"This video also clearly depicts behaviour that is contrary to the values of Asian countries that are known for their manners and morals," he said, according to Bernama.
"I believe this is not a stance or action accepted by any country let alone reflect the official stance of any government."
Additional reporting by Fadza Ishak.