Thursday, August 16, 2007
Malaysian Student Apologizes
Wee Meng Chee, a Malaysian student currently attending college in Taiwan, apologized for making and posting a rap video on YouTube that featured the Malaysian national anthem Negaraku as background music.
The entire episode raises questions in Malaysia about the issues of creativity and expression versus the government’s “national interest” regulations.
Using a strategy of evasion of responsibility based on good intentions, Meng Chee stated that the controversy has taught him “a lesson about the spirit of nationalism and race relations.” He added, “As a Malaysian, I did not intend to shame the country or ridicule any religion.”
Meng Chee also announced that he is taking corrective action to help end the controversy: “I will remove the video clip from my blog and I hope other bloggers will stop distributing the video clip.”
The Malaysian Information Minister, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin, urged Malaysians to accept Meng Chee’s apology. Cabinet Minister Nazri, however, argues that Meng Chee “committed an offence against the nation and no one, not the Cabinet or political parties, are in the position to forgive him.”
Instead, the matter will be turned over to the Attorney General to determine if Meng Wee should be charged under the Sedition Act for insulting a symbol of the nation.
“In Britain, you can insult the Queen or the flag, I don’t care, but in this country we have laws and we cannot create a precedent where you commit an offence, apologize and get away with it,” said Nazri.