Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Race and religions are sensitive issues in multi-racial Malaysia.
Therefore, whatever Malaysians do, especially in public and in media, they will be closely scrutinised.
Any mistakes will almost certainly draw controversies and public ire.
In the latest case, a Malaysian television station had axed commercials to mark the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan after viewers denounced them as being racist against the country's Chinese minority.
The advertisements, which began airing on Monday, 1st August 2011 at the start of Ramadan, depicted an ethnic Chinese girl, dressed in a tight and sleeveless dress, talking loudly and eating in public.
They ended with a message urging viewers to refrain from such behaviour, considered inappropriate during Ramadan.
This is the controversial commercials by 8TV. The message is good but the way it is presented is not well received by Malaysians. I wonder who is the director of this commercial and who is the actress in that commercial.
The private station that aired the commercials, 8TV, pulled them on Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, a mere 24 hours after being aired, after the TV station Facebook page was flooded with angry comments denouncing the advertisements as racist.
"Ok guys. We're pulling out the ads. Thank you very much for your concern," 8TV chief executive Ahmad Izham Omar said on a message on microblogging site Twitter late on Tuesday, 2nd August 2011.
About 60 percent of Malaysia's 28.3 million people are Muslim Malays, who live alongside large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities as well as the ethnic groups in Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia.
8TV is one of 4 TV stations owned by Media Prima, Malaysia's largest media group.
Last year in 2010, another TV station operating under Media Prima, TV3 was also criticized for airing a Hari Raya commercial deemed inappropriate for depicting Santa Claus like character and a flower symbolising Buddha.
The controversial commercial below. One more time the message is good but the ways it was presented was not well received by Malaysians :
The TV Station apology aired on 5th September 2010 on the above commercial :