Singapore apologises to Malaysians for comedian Jocelyn Chia's MH370 joke
SINGAPORE: Singapore is sorry for the offence and hurt caused to all Malaysians over statements made by the comedian Jocelyn Chia, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Thursday (Jun 8).
Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon also apologised "to all Malaysians for her hurtful remarks".
In a video clip of Chia performing stand-up at the Comedy Cellar club in New York, she can be seen making jokes about Singapore's relationship with Malaysia.
She commented on Singapore's separation from Malaysia in 1965, saying that Singapore has gone on to become a first-world country and that Malaysia was "still a developing" one.
Chia also said that Malaysian airplanes "can't fly" and that "some jokes don't land", in an apparent reference to Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which went missing on Mar 8, 2014.
In a reply to a Twitter post by Malaysia's former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq, Dr Balakrishnan said he was appalled by her horrendous statements.
"She certainly does not speak for Singaporeans," said Dr Balakrishnan, adding that Singapore treasures its "ties with family and friends in Malaysia".
In a statement issued by Singapore's foreign affairs ministry, Mr Menon said he was appalled by Chia's gratuitously offensive comments.
"The Singapore government does not condone words or actions that cause harm or hurt to others," he said, adding that Chia was "no longer Singaporean" and that she did not "in any way reflect our views".
Comments like Chia's were "unhelpful and undermine the close trust and friendship that both our countries and peoples enjoy", said Mr Menon.
Malaysian news agency Bernama reported that the country's Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir condemned Chia's "lack of sensitivity and empathy" towards Malaysians and the families of MH370 victims.
"This video also clearly depicts behaviour that is contrary to the values of Asian countries that are known for their manners and morals," he said in a statement.
"I believe this is not a stance or action accepted by any country let alone reflect the official stance of any government."
Chia's website describes her as a "lawyer turned comedian originally from Singapore" and a regular performer in New York City.
Her Instagram page was taken down as of Thursday morning. CNA has attempted to contact Chia for comment.
Siang, N. H. (2023, June 8). Singapore apologises to Malaysians for comedian Jocelyn Chia’s MH370 joke. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/jocelyn-chia-malaysia-mh370-singapore-comedy-offensive-comments-high-commissioner-3546331