One of the segment on comedy show Ok Chope!, which aired on Wednesday (29 March) was criticised by viewers for its insensitive remarks against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
OK Chope! is a weekly live comedy panel show that sees the funny side to current affair news. Host Vernetta Lopez and her panelist Najip Ali, Mike Kasem, Rishi Budhrani and Sam See, attempts to “chope” over each other, to give their take on the latest happenings in social media, news and pop culture.
On the segment, the panel was asked to fill in words to form the sentence: Najib slams ___ for threatening Malaysia’s progress.
As the panelist made their rounds to fill in the blanks, here are their answers:
Sam See: Najib slams kissing female officers for threatening Malaysia’s progress
Najib Ali: Najib with the ‘B’ slams Najib with the ‘P’
Rishi Budhrani: Najib slams himself for threatening Malaysia’s progress
Mike Kasem: Najib slams the news for threatening Malaysia’s progress
Sam See continued and said “Najib slams Beauty and the Beast for threatening Malaysia’s progress”. After which, Rishi Budhrani also continued the round, saying, “Najib slams the bomoh’s head with his own coconuts for threatening Malaysia’s progress”.
Vernetta Lopez, the host of the show, finished off the segment revealing the right answer, which is: Najib slams fake news for threatening Malaysia’s progress.
She added that the Malaysia PM goes on to cite how a 7 billion dollars Saudi deal almost didn’t go through due to fake news spread by his political enemies. The segment ended with Sam See commenting, “Once again, the Saudis are giving him money. What a surprise!” and Vernetta Lopez saying, “What is he going to do now, follow Trump’s hairstyle as well?”
A Malaysian publication, The New Straits Times, published a statement from Umno Youth members demanding the comedians to issue a public apology.
MediaCorp has issued a statement regarding the matter, offering their apology.
Ms Debra Soon, Chief Customer Officer, Mediacorp said, “Channel 5 and the production team behind OK Chope! wish to sincerely apologise to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for a segment on last week’s episode. OK Chope!, a weekly live show, features comedians providing humorous takes on news and current affairs. Last week’s episode included references to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak which were in poor taste and offensive.”
“We have thus pulled it from repeat telecast with immediate effect. We apologise unreservedly for this mistake,” she said.
Mr Najip Ali said, “Over the last few days I have reflected on the comments I made during a segment on a Channel 5 comedy show which referenced Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. I realise how insensitive and callous I was. I would like to apologise unreservedly to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. I beg his forgiveness and that of my viewers and friends.”
TOC noted that Toggle did not upload the latest episode (episode 26) of the show which had the insensitive remarks.