Umno Youth submits memorandum to US ambassador over comedian Jocelyn Chia’s remarks

Umno Youth, a Malaysian political organisation, has submitted a memorandum to the US Ambassador to Malaysia, Brian D. McFeeters, protesting against stand-up comedian Jocelyn Chia. The group’s chief, Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh, is urging the US government to investigate the incident and take appropriate action.

In an official letter to the US ambassador, Dr Akmal stated, “I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to a prompt and satisfactory resolution. I trust that the US embassy will take the necessary steps to address this incident, foster cultural sensitivity, and uphold the values of mutual respect and understanding that are essential.”

Chia, a naturalised US citizen, sparked controversy with her remarks about Malaysia in a stand-up comedy skit aired on the internet. In particular, her jokes about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with all 239 people on board presumed dead, ignited a nationwide backlash in Malaysia.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke condemned Chia’s comments, calling them “rude, insolent and inhumane.” Singapore High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon also denounced Chia and apologised to all Malaysians in a separate statement, adding that the New York-based performer is no longer a Singaporean.

In her act, Chia joked that Malaysia is “still a developing country” far behind Singapore 40 years after being “dumped” in 1965. She also mocked Malaysia’s aviation industry, which drew audible gasps from the live audience. Chia later told the audience that she would receive a bad score on Yelp, an online review site, for her remarks, but brushed it off, saying Malaysians have no internet access.

Many Malaysians, including high-profile individuals such as popular comedian Harith Iskandar and radio personality Kudsia Kahar, took to social media to denounce Chia’s performance.

World News

Lee Shuyi

Lee is an expat writer living in Thailand. She specialises in Southeast Asian news for the Thaiger. When she's not writing, Lee enjoys immersing herself in Thai culture and learning Thai.

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