Sun, Aug 12, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Malaysia may prosecute student

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Malaysian student in Taiwan could face charges back in his home country for posting a video of a rap song on YouTube, criticizing Malaysian police and politicians to the tune of the Malaysian anthem.

Wee Meng Chee (黃明志), a 24-year-old Malaysian student studying mass communications at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, wrote a song and produced his own music video, the New Strait Times of Malaysia reported on Friday.

In the music video, Wee pans Malaysian police as corrupt, calls the country's bureaucracy ineffective and accuses the government of discriminating against local ethnic Chinese.

Wee's song also touched on ethnic nerves with lines about morning prayers at mosques sounding "like roosters crowing."

The Malaysian national anthem, Negarakuku ("I Love My Country"), provides the interlude for his video, which shows Wee singing with the Malaysian flag as a backdrop.

The lyrics are a mixture of Mandarin, Malay, and Hokkien (better known as Hoklo, or "Taiwanese," in Taiwan).

Wee said on his Web log that he was "just using music to reflect the reality of a society, as I'm only a person who likes to have fun with music."

Nevertheless, Malaysian authorities thought otherwise.

The Malaysian Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum said police would examine the video to decide whether Wee had violated Malaysia's Sedition Act, the Manila Times said yesterday.

"If he has, we will act against him under the Sedition Act," Johari was quoted as saying by the Manila Times.

The Act was enacted under British colonial rule. Violations are punishable with up to three years in prison and a fine of 5,000 ringgits (US$1,400), the report said.

Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysian deputy youth and sport minister, said Wee had mocked the national anthem, according to the Manila Times.

"He seems patriotic but needs guidance to show his patriotism in the proper way," Liow was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

On the other hand, people from different countries left messages on Wee's blog and YouTube page to give him support. Several opposition parties in Malaysia and human rights groups condemned the Malaysian government for its response, reports in Malaysia's Sin Chew Daily and the New Strait Times said.

"The Negarakuku rap video was meant to be a satirical social commentary on life in Malaysia as a Chinese and it was never meant to be an insult to Islam or the Malays," Wee was quoted as saying by the New Strait Times.

In response to Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Rais Yatim's demand for an apology before Aug. 31, Malaysia's National Day, Wee said he had not done anything wrong, but would apologize if the video was found offensive by the Malay community, the New Strait Times reported.

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