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Singapore commission apologises for comedian's MH370 joke

The Singapore high commissioner to Malaysia says he is 'appalled' by Jocelyn Chia's remarks.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Stand-up comedian Jocelyn Chia.
Stand-up comedian Jocelyn Chia.

The Singapore High Commission in Malaysia has apologised to Malaysia on behalf of the city-state for remarks on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 made by a stand-up comedian from the republic during a performance in New York. 

Jocelyn Chia had made the comments as part of a joke about Malaysia's ties with Singapore. 

"Now Malaysia, you're trying to come around like, hey, Singapore, you're looking good lah. 

"And we're like, I know. But why haven't you visited me in 40 years? And you're like, yeah, I tried, but you know, my airplanes cannot fly.

"What, Malaysia Airlines going missing not funny, huh? Some jokes don't land," she said in a video clip posted on her social media on June 6. 

Vanu Gopala Menon, the Singapore high commissioner to Malaysia, said he was "appalled" by Chia's "gratuitously offensive comments", adding that the Singapore government does not condone words of actions that cause harm or hurt to others. 

"Chia, who is no longer Singaporean, does not in any way reflect our views," he said. 

"I sincerely apologise to all Malaysians for her hurtful remarks."

MH370 went missing from radar on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane and its 239 passengers has yet to be found despite an extensive ocean search involving several countries.

Vanu said in his statement that Singapore and Malaysia enjoyed a strong and multi-faceted relationship, with deep and cross-cutting ties.

"We also have unique historical and close people-to-people ties," he said. 

"Comments such as those made by Chia are unhelpful and undermine the close trust and friendship that both our countries and peoples enjoy."

Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir meanwhile said that Chia had shown a lack of sensitivity and empathy towards Malaysians and the families of those on board MH370.

"This video also clearly depicts behaviour that is contrary to the values of Asian countries that are known for their manners and morals.

"I believe this is not a stance or action accepted by any country let alone one that reflects the official stance of any government," he said in a statement.