Singapore comedian facing ban in Malaysia over Najib joke
S'pore comedian Fakkah Fuzz ruffles feathers in M'sia over joke about PM Najib being a 'thief'
Local comedian-actor-host Fakkah Fuzz could be barred from Malaysia for making a joke about Prime Minister Najib Razak being a "thief".
Last week, the 29-year-old - whose real name is Muhammad Fadzri Abd Rashid - uploaded a video segment that was less than a minute long of one of his stand-up shows in April on his Facebook page.
Titled In Fuzz We Trust and rated R18, it was his first solo gig and was held at the School of the Arts (SOTA) Drama Theatre as part of this year's Singapore Comedy Fringe festival, The New Paper understands. During the show, Fuzz - who has been plying his trade since 2011 at open mics and public shows - talked about his observations and life experiences growing up as an everyday Singaporean.
He spoke about the differences in the use of the Malay language between Singaporeans and Malaysians, saying Singapore Malays call a thief "pencuri" (Malay for thief), while Malaysian Malays call a thief "perdana menteri" (Malay for prime minister).
His comment sparked outrage from Selangor United Malays National Organisation (Umno) Youth chief Zainuri Zainal, who called for Fuzz to be blacklisted in Malaysia.
According to The New Straits Times, Mr Zainuri said in a statement: "He had likened the definition of a thief in Malaysia to the Prime Minister, which is very disheartening."
He said that there are various ways and ideas for comedians to entertain an audience.
"But the act of using a leader of a neighbouring country as a joke is not mature and does not respect the sovereignty of Malaysia," he added.
Fuzz has since removed the offending video and also uploaded an apology video on his Facebook page last Saturday.
He posted: "I would like to sincerely apologise if I unintentionally hurt my brothers and sisters across the Causeway. It was not my intention to hurt or cause unrest among anyone. Nor was I accusing anyone of anything.
"Having said that, everyone needs to open their minds, be a little less sensitive and learn to take a joke once in a while. I'd just like to make it clear that political satire is not to be taken seriously as opinions."
When The New Paper contacted Fuzz over the phone yesterday, he offered another apology.
He told TNP: "People said that I don't have to apologise, but I felt that I needed to, for the people who were offended. I wanted to make sure they understood that it was not a political stand. I'm not trying to talk about politics, I'm trying to be a comedian. I just want stand-up comedy and political satire to be a part of our culture."
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
He added: "I've learnt that there's a group of people who like this kind of jokes. At the same time, there's a group of people who don't like it. It's all right, because we all have a right and freedom to express whatever we feel."
When asked how he felt about the call to ban him, he said that he visits Malaysia quite often - both for work and personal reasons.
"If I'm banned from Malaysia, I am going to be very sad because a lot of my close friends and family are there," Fuzz said.
Federal Territories Umno Youth Chief Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii does not think Fuzz's Facebook apology was sincere.
He told TNP over the phone from Malaysia yesterday: "We are still asking the government to blacklist him."
He added: "It's not comedy, it's respect. You can comment on Malaysia's politics, but comment with consideration. When you make a joke, you need to really think about everyone first."
He emphasised that there should be respect not only when talking about Mr Najib, but also about any other person.
Some Malaysian netizens backed Umno's stand, asking for more sensitivity on such issues. They questioned if Singaporeans would take kindly to a comedian making similar jokes about Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong or the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
But the majority of netizens, both Singaporeans and Malaysians, have expressed their support for Fuzz.
Facebook user Ahsik Jonid said: "It's stand-up comedy. I don't see the need for an apology. I thoroughly enjoyed your show. Can't wait for the next one."
Fuzz said: "Whatever happens, I'm going to continue doing stand-up comedy. The two things in life I live for are to feed my family and to do stand-up comedy."
"I'm not trying to talk about politics, I'm trying to be a comedian. I just want stand-up comedy and political satire to be a part of our culture."
- Comedian Fakkah Fuzz