Malaysia has condemned a Singapore-born comedian who mocked the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in a skit in the US.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian officials on Thursday condemned a Singapore-born stand-up comedian who mocked Malaysia and mocked the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in a comedy show in the United States.
Jocelyn Chia posted her actions on social media, sparking outrage in Malaysia and prompting Singaporean officials to apologize. Chia made crude remarks about Malaysia, which she said fell far behind Singapore after the two countries separated in 1965.
She joked about the Malaysian plane not being able to fly, leaving the audience gasping in amazement. Chia continued: “Why? Missing Malaysia Airlines isn’t funny, right? Some jokes don’t land.”
Flight MH370 was carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared on 8 March 2014 and is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir said Chia’s actions “show a lack of sensitivity and empathy” towards Malaysians and the families of the victims.
“This video also clearly depicts behavior that goes against the values of Asian nations known for their manners and ethics,” he said in a statement.
Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan took to Twitter on Thursday to apologize. He said he was appalled by Chia’s “terrible statements” and that Chia did not speak on behalf of Singaporeans.
“We cherish our relationship with family and friends in Malaysia, and apologize for the offense and hurt caused to all Malaysians,” he said.
Singapore officials said Chia is no longer a citizen. The Singapore Straits Times reports that she is now a US citizen. Following the backlash, the video appeared to have been removed from some of Chia’s social media but can still be found on some websites.
A Malaysian social portal, World of Buzz, reported that Chia defied. She had posted earlier on social media in response to criticism that “people take the jokes too seriously,” it said. Chia added that “tragedy + time = comedy” and said the joke was acceptable because it happened long enough, the site reported. Her comments were then inaccessible.
Scattered debris washed up on African shores and islands in the Indian Ocean suggests MH370 likely crashed in a distant sea. But a search by the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese governments failed to locate. And a second private search by the US company Ocean Infinity found no sign of a possible crash site.