Channel 5's Najip Ali apologises for poking fun at PM Najib in comedy

PETALING JAYA: Singapore's Mediacorp Channel 5 and Singaporean comedian Najip Ali have apologised for a comedy segment that poked fun at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

In a joint statement with Najip on Wednesday, Mediacorp's chief customer officer Debra Soon admitted that the episode, which aired Wednesday last week, made references to the Prime Minister which were in "poor taste and offensive."

"Channel 5 and the production team behind OK Chope! wish to sincerely apologise to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for a segment on last week's episode," said Soon.

"We have thus pulled it from repeat telecast with immediate effect," she added.

In the offending episode of the comedy panel show OK Chope!, Najip hosted a segment where participants were asked to fill in the blank to complete the sentence "Najib slams … for threatening Malaysia's progress. "

The responses he received later brought in complaints from viewers.

In the joint statement, the comedian said he had spent the last few days reflecting on the comments referencing Najib he made during the segment.

"I realise how insensitive and callous I was," said Najip, adding that he apologised unreservedly for the mistake.

The comedy segment drew the ire of Persatuan Seniman Malaysia, which on Tuesday demanded that Najip apologise by Friday, failing which the association would lodge a police report against him.

OK Chope! is a weekly live comedy panel show that looks at the funny side of current affairs. Host Vernetta Lopez and her panellists Najip, Mike Kasem, Rishi Budhrani and Sam See, attempt to 'chope' each other, to give their take on the latest happenings in social media, news and pop culture.