2011/08/03

Malaysian TV removes Ramadan ads amid 'racism' complaint

KUALA LUMPUR, August  3, 2011 (AFP) - A Malaysian television station said it had axed commercials to mark the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan after viewers denounced them as being racist against the country's Chinese minority.

The advertisements, which began airing on Monday at the start of Ramadan, depicted an ethnic Chinese girl, dressed in a tight and sleeveless dress, talking loudly and eating in public.

They ended with a message urging viewers to refrain from such behaviour, considered inappropriate during Ramadan.

The private station that aired the commercials, 8TV, pulled them on Tuesday after its Facebook page was flooded with angry comments denouncing the advertisements as racist.

"Ok guys. We're pulling out the ads. Thank you very much for your concern," 8TV chief executive Ahmad Izham Omar said on a message on microblogging site Twitter late on Tuesday.

Religion and language are sensitive issues in Malaysia, a multiracial society that experienced deadly race riots in 1969.

About 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million people are Muslim Malays, who  live alongside large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities that complain the country is being "Islamised".