Asia

Singapore comedian apologises for Najib joke

Muhammad Fadzri Image copyright Muhammad Fadzri
Image caption The Singaporean stand-up comedian said he has been flooded with threats as well as messages of support

A Singaporean comedian has apologised for causing offence over a joke he made about Malaysia's leader.

In a video that went viral Muhammad Fadzri, also known on stage as Fakkah Fuzz, made a pun that compared the word prime minister to "thief".

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak has been officially cleared of corruption in a long-running financial scandal that has gripped the nation.

But this video has raised the ire of one Malaysian political group.

In the one-minute clip which has since been removed from Facebook, the stand-up comedian touched on differences between Malay communities in Singapore and Malaysia.

One of the topics he commented on was the difference in terminology.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Despite being cleared of corruption, Malaysia's Najib Razak still faces pressure and criticism over the controversial 1MDB financial scandal

"Singaporean Malays call a thief 'pencuri' while those in Malaysia call a thief 'perdana menteri' (the local term for prime minister)," he said.

Despite being cleared Mr Najib still continues to face pressure from his critics and repeated calls to resign.


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But Selangor Umno Youth, a wing of Malaysia's largest political party, issued a statement condemning the comedian's video.

"Fakkah Fuzz rudely made a comparison on the definition of a thief in Singapore and Malaysia which is very disheartening," youth chief Zainuri Zainal said in a statement.

The group has also called on Malaysia's Home Ministry to block the Singaporean comedian from entering the country.

"He should not meddle in the matters of Malaysia. This should not have happened, taking into the consideration that both countries have enjoy a good diplomatic relationship," he said.

Since the video's release on Saturday, the 30-year-old Singaporean says he has been receiving messages by the hour.

He told BBC News that he did not expect such a backlash.

"I am not a political activist, I am a stand up comedian - I'm simply here to entertain."

"There are just so many crazy things happening in this part of the world now and I feel for Malaysia too. I was simply introducing political satire in my act and felt that the best way to do that was to be relatable."

Mr Fadzri also said he has also received messages of support.

"People have been messaging me from Malaysia and Singapore, telling me they love what I do and want to see me in my next show," he said.

"Comedy is what I've done for years - it's art and the epitome of freedom of expression. If political satire is welcomed in the West for audiences to take a break from issues and just have a good laugh then I believe this part of the world can do it too."

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