Malaysia broadcaster RTM takes 'Despacito' off the air

PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA - Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will cease broadcasting the global hit song, Despacito, at all its radio and television stations immediately, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

He said the RTM evaluation panel decided to withdraw the approval to play the song after a re-evaluation.

"As such, RTM is ceasing the broadcast of the song at its radio and TV stations with immediate effect," he said to Bernama after attending an Aidilfitri open house of the ministry here yesterday.

The song about having a sexual relationship has also hit a sour note with Angkatan Wanita Amanah Nasional that is calling for the Spanish hit to be kept out of Malaysia's airwaves.

Denouncing Despacito as having sexually explicit lyrics, the group's Arts and Culture chairperson Atriza Umar said she viewed it seriously as many young children were singing the song without actually understanding the words.

She urged radio stations to stop playing Despacito (meaning "slowly") which, according to Wikipedia, is a "reggaeton-pop song about having a sexual relationship, performed in a smooth and romantic way".

Local Malay radio stations, Atriza added, were also playing the song, resulting in it becoming a phenomenon "that is hard to stop".

"We respect the right to be entertained but there should be clearer guidelines so that the entertainment does not spoil people but makes them better," she said.

Despacito is sung by Puerto Ricans Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee and features Canadian pop star Justin Bieber.

The song has topped weekly charts all over the world, including in Malaysia.

According to the Billboard charts, the hit has become just the 35th single to top the Hot 100 for at least 10 weeks.