Group honoured for role in countering religious extremism

Group honoured for role in countering religious extremism
(From left) Ustaz Mohamed Hasbi Hassan and Ustaz Ali Haji Mohamed of the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) won the Berita Harian Achievers of the Year Award and Saiyidah Aisyah Mohammed Rafa'ee won the Berita Harian Inspiring Young Achiever Award.

KOREA - Officials from both SM Entertainment and Amoeba Culture have released public statements confirming that popular K-pop starlet Sulli of f(x) and hip-hop artist Choiza of Dynamic Duo are in fact in a romantic relationship.

For the past several months, rumours had been widely circulating throughout media and online communities that the two stars had been dating for some time.

In June, one netizen posted a photo online claiming that he had come across Choiza's wallet and found pictures of Sulli inside. Although officials at Amoeba did confirm that it was indeed Choiza's wallet, both agencies denied all allegations that the two were involved romantically in any way, responding that they were merely close friends.

On Tuesday, both the stars' agencies issued a brief press release confirming the rumours and that Sulli and Choiza were "at a good stage" in their relationship.

In late July, representatives of SM posted an announcement on the agency's official website that Sulli had fallen victim to a continuous sleuth of malicious online comments and rumours, and as a result decided to suspend her activities with f(x).

"She is determined to stay out of the entertainment scene for a while," the announcement read. "To protect the artist, we have decided to minimise Sulli's entertainment activities and let her take some time off."

Along with his agency's official announcement, Choiza also released a to public apology for keeping their relationship secret despite the many speculations. He went on to state that in light of all the rumours causing Sulli such turmoil, he felt the need to go public.

"With all the vicious comments and rumours spreading around, I did not want our relationship to become a source of mental anguish for her," he wrote.

The news of Sulli's decision to step out of the limelight came shortly after f(x) had released its latest EP "Red Light" and SM decided to cut the group's promotional performances short in light of Sulli's situation. It was also reported that fellow members Krystal, Victoria, Amber and Luna would pursue their own individual projects and the group's overseas promotions would exclude Sulli.

Although SM officials had previously claimed the continuous rumours aimed at Sulli were behind the break, on Tuesday a report from entertainment news agency Dispatch, which previously released pictures of the couple on dates, speculated that it may not be so temporary.

The report suggested that Sulli's departure from f(x) is permanent, and that the decision was made because of her alleged desire to focus her career on acting rather than music.

Representatives at SM responded by saying that the claims were "completely baseless" and denied all suggestions that Sulli has parted ways from f(x).

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)

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