SINGAPORE - He rose to fame in 2007 after winning Malay channel Suria's version of Singapore Idol, Anugerah.
Then only 16 years old, Mohamad Aliff Aziz (inset), beat three other finalists in the singing contest.
After gaining popularity on both sides of the Causeway, he is now in the spotlight for the wrong reason.
Malay language daily Berita Harian reported yesterday that the singer was fined $2,000 on Friday for stealing two mobile phones.
Now 23, the Kuala Lumpur-based Singaporean made off with the items at the void deck of Block 36, Tanglin Halt Road, just past midnight on May 24.
The two phones - an HTC One and a Samsung Note 1, valued at $800 each - belong to a man identified as Mr Yong Kit Siong.
Malay entertainment personalities contacted by The New Paper said they were surprised to hear about the case.
Alif Abdullah, 25, better known as Alyph of local hip-hop duo SleeQ, said he got along well with Aliff.
"We hang out together and I hope his fans will remember him for his music. Everyone makes mistakes and I hope everyone will give him support in this difficult time," he said.
An image consultant who worked several times with Aliff in Malaysia and Singapore said they first met in 2011 and he has always acknowledged her whenever they bump into each other.
The consultant, who requested anonymity, added: "He is not stuck-up and overall, he's a nice guy. I think he should lie low for a while, maybe for about three months.
"After that, he should sincerely ask for forgiveness and win back his fans."
Aliff is no stranger to controversy.
In April, last year, he was slammed in Malaysian media as a "bad boy" for being notorious for his lack of discipline at work.
Malaysia's Kosmo news reported that he was unfocused at work and missing from the set during filming.
For the theft, Aliff could have been jailed up to three years and fined.
This article was first published on October 1, 2014.
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