Malaysia’s 8TV pulls ‘racist’ Ramadan adverts

BBC News
3 August 2011

A Malaysian TV channel has withdrawn a series of public-service messages about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, after viewers complained they were racist.

One of the adverts showed an ethnic Chinese girl acting in a rude manner towards Muslims, followed by a message saying: “Do not be loud or obnoxious.”

In another of the adverts the girl is wearing a vest-top and is told: “Do not wear tight and revealing clothes.”

The station, 8TV, apologised for any “inconvenience or uneasiness” caused.

“It is with much regret that there were misinterpretations in the PSA [public service announcement] that were meant to serve only as a message of respect for the Ramadan month,” the channel said in a message on its Facebook page.

“The message was not meant to offend anyone, race or creed in any way. This is an honest mistake involving a very small amount of humour that was misinterpreted which led to concerns.”

The station, which aims largely at Malaysia’s sizeable Chinese minority, pulled the messages from its schedules and also moved quickly to delete them from video-sharing websites.

Its Facebook page was inundated with critical messages.

One web user, Jules Yap, said the channel had shown “disgusting, arrogant behaviour”.

“Can’t believe how arrogant the higher-ups in 8TV are, coming out with a defensive, insincere ‘apology’ which at the same time blames the viewers for misinterpreting the offensive PSA ads, when the ads are clearly in poor taste,” he said.

Boon Hun said: “Gosh, you keep using the word misinterpretations, like it’s our fault!”

Ethnic Chinese make up about one quarter of Malaysia’s population.

They often complain of being discriminated against by the country’s laws, which give ethnic Malays preferential treatment.

  1. #1 by Cinapek on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 11:01 am

    Thankfully Johoreans do not have to watch 8TV, or any of the other Malaysian TV channels. With more entertaining TV programs from our neighbour across the Causeway and Astro, we have largely been spared the agony of watching these crappy programs.

    Having said that, it is closed and tiny minds that can dream of such distasteful ads. An ad that needs to demean another race or religion to promote oneself is not only shameful, it indicates the insecurity and inferiority complex of those that promoted such ads. In the first place, it is stretching the imagination too far to depict a young Chinese girl behaving in such a manner. Secondly, are non Malays also now to be subjected to dressing rules over the Ramadan period even though the dressing is well within the country’s laws? And talking of respect for other religions, how do you compare whatever 8TV is espousing with the JAIS and PDRM raid on a church dinner function in Selangor recently without a warrant and acted merely on a “report”? It seems such behavior are commonplace among the enforcement agencies. Remember the TBH RCI which criticised MACC for acting with extreme force on a mere “report”?

    The apology was only given after their hand was caught in the cookie jar and it must have been very hard for them to even utter those words. MCMC/Rais Yatim, what are you doing about it?

  2. #2 by tak tahan on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 11:06 am

    ‘Don’t mat rempiting and gambling(99.9% ketuanans) in my area’
    Is this misinterpretation?Gosh..see it yourself to believe it.

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 11:07 am

    Let the issue rest. Media Prima Tel station 8TV already apologised twice, pulled out the advertisement, which should be good enough. To continue beating the issue is no more to make the TV station undo that which they have done wrong. It merely serves as excuse (unrelated to the issue) to vent frustrations of non Malays of “the overall situation being discriminated against by the country‚Äôs laws, which give ethnic Malays preferential treatment”. This will only serve to aggravate the ethnic divide further to no one’s benefit.

  4. #4 by DAP man on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 11:35 am

    This issue is more than an advertisement and an apology. It’s more than what meets the eye.

    Look at the larger implications of this issue.
    We are told that the Muslims should be respected because they are fasting so you pendatangs should talk in whispers,wear baggy clothes and never eat in front of us.
    They are telling us’
    “If you want to eat go to the toilets or hide behind a tree.
    See, we are the tuans here.
    Never mind if I am immoral, corrupted or uncivil. You respect me because I am fasting. We don’t care about your rights. You respect ours!!”

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 11:38 am

    How about the Media Prima boss go live and broadcast his ‘sincere apology’ ? Why tweet and issue statements when these would be seen as inadequate and insincere?

    You air the offending adverts, you air your open, unreserved apologies.

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 11:46 am

    ‘…..involving a very small amount of humour….’

    Viewers were not humoured but greatly offended by the open and not so open message that was conveyed.

    8TV or their ad agency cannot just brush this aside as a ‘misinterpretation’ and must undergo the relevant ‘sensitivity’ courses to ensure this sort of things does not happen again.

  7. #7 by k1980 on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 11:53 am

    Datukship and senatorship for the Media Prima boss plus promotion to Minister of Communication in the next cabinet reshuffle by jibby

  8. #8 by Winston on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 12:01 pm

    In fact, Malaysians have been respecting each other and
    others’ religion all this while.
    The problems only arose when those in power started
    using them to divide the people.
    And as long as they’re in power, such issues will continue.
    Put a stop to it in the next GE.

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 12:02 pm

    Dis is Y we r living in a crap nation
    Everyday we r flooded with negatif news
    We seem 2 sink deeper n deeper in2 race n religion cesspools
    HOW 2 PROGRESS as a nation under NR n UmnoB/BN?

  10. #10 by hallo on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 12:12 pm

    It is wise the head resign so the mistake would not repeat again by others

  11. #11 by eh on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 12:37 pm

    So typical…not owning up…taichi the blame…

  12. #12 by ktteokt on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 12:47 pm

    With this kind of racist ads, does Najis still think his 1 MALAYSIA is in one piece?

  13. #13 by Cinapek on Thursday, 4 August 2011 - 4:24 pm

    Sheriff Singh

    “You air the offending adverts, you air your open, unreserved apologies.”

    Absolutely correct. Media Prima’s boss should go on air and tender your apologies and not hide behind tweets and try to twist the apology.

    The damage has been done. These ads have further added on to the misguided image of the “rude and uncouth pendatangs” who are always offending the Muslims. To undo it, the boss himself must go on air and make an unreserved and unconditional apology.

    BTW, not only Chinese girls wear tank tops. I have seen young girls of ALL races wear tank tops and tight fitting clothes even during the month of Ramadan. Shall I also show you examples of girls of ALL races exhibiting similar “brazen” behavior based on 8TV’s criteria? Lets not confuse youthful exuberance for bad behavior.

  14. #14 by good coolie on Friday, 5 August 2011 - 10:42 pm

    Those ladies wear tank tops because it is so hot these days (global warming maybe!). Some want to look attractive, what’s wrong with that? Our Muslim brothers should just look down with modesty as urged by their religious teaching. Any way, let us not make mountains out of mole-hills. Carry on cooling down, girls. “Chill it?”

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