Aug 15, 2007

Information Minister : Malaysians Must Accept Wee's Apology

Let's forgive and forget.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- The society must accept the apology by Wee Meng Chong who has regretted mocking the national anthem and making racial slurs, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said today.

He said the 24-year-old Wee, a mass communication student at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, had made the mistake by choosing the national anthem and mocking it because he was young and unable to assess the sensitivities in the country.

"He should not be punished but instead be guided and educated to enable him to understand the basics and to distinguish between political and national issues," he told reporters after launching the first anniversary celebrations of the national classic radio at Wisma Radio in Angkasapuri.

Zainuddin also praised MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting for taking a pro-active stance by not turning the issue into a racial issue.

Wee created a controversy and came under fire recently for singing a rap version of the "Negaraku" and changing the lyrics and posting it in a five-minute and 32-second video clip over "YouTube".

Wee made his apology today to the government and the people during a 30-minute telephone conversation with MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Zainuddin also expressed regret with the actions of several groups, especially opposition parties, which took advantage to politicise the issue and turn it into an issue with racial undertones.

"There are political parties, for instance, the DAP has offered Wee to be its member just because he was vocal in criticising the government. I regret very much things like these," he said.

Zainuddin hoped the Malaysians would not continue to harp on this issue as Wee had already apologised to the people.

In fact, this incident had made Wee realise the importance of valuing and appreciating the national heritage, particularly the Negaraku, he said.

Earlier, in his speech, Zainuddin said the National Classic Radio, just a year old, has already captured 1.2 million listeners,

Praising the station for its extraordinary achievement within a short span of time, the minister expressed confidence it would emerge as one of the popular radio stations in the country.

He said merging the Classic FM and National FM was one of the excellent planning by RTM.

"Upon realising the waning response to the National FM while the Classic FM was gaining in popularity, we decided to merge them and this is the outcome of it," he said.

The National Classic Radio, which went on air on Aug 12 last year, plays a mix of classical, traditional and modern songs to suit the taste of listeners from all age groups, he added.

as reported by Malaysiakini
Malaysians should be magnanimous in accepting an apology by Negarakuku rapper Wee Meng Chong as his MTV-style online video which mocked the national anthem was due to his ignorance.

This was the verdict of Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin, who in the past has been a fierce and vocal critic of bloggers for their criticisms of the government.

"He should not be punished but instead be guided and educated to enable him to understand the basics and to distinguish between political and national issues," Zainuddin told reporters late yesterday, as reported by Bernama.

The minister said the 24-year-old Wee, a mass communication student at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, had made the mistake by choosing the national anthem and mocking it because he was young and unable to assess the sensitivities in the country.

As such, Zainuddin said, the society must accept the apology by Wee Meng Chong who has regretted mocking the national anthem and making racial slurs.

After two weeks of threats from Umno politicians, Wee yesterday issued an open apology to those who were offended by his work.

Wee’s music video Negarakuku which attracted more than a million views on video sharing website YouTube earned the wrath of Umno for allegedly insulting Malays and Islam.

“Following this controversy, I would like to offer an explanation and openly apologise to all Malaysians who feel insulted and offended by my actions,” said Wee in an emailed press statement in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.

Wee also expressed his apology to the government and the people during a 30-minute telephone conversation with MCA vice-president Dr Chua Soi Lek yesterday.

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