Malaysia TV station axes Muslim ad because of Christmas overtones

By Reuters Staff
September 6, 2010

malaysianTV

(Photo: Screengrab from TV3 commercial on YouTube)

A Malaysian television station has axed a commercial for an important Muslim holiday after viewers complained that it looked more like a promotion for Christmas. State-linked TV3 aired the commercial earlier this month to wish the country’s dominant ethnic Malay-Muslims a joyous Eid al-Fitr, which is likely to fall on Friday and marks the end of a month-long Ramadan fast.

The advert shows an avuncular white-haired man taking children to a fantasy land aboard a flying trishaw, drawing complaints from Muslim viewers that it resembled Santa Claus and his sleigh. TV3′s news anchors apologised on Sunday’s prime time news broadcast, saying the station had stopped airing the clip — which stirred a storm on the Malaysian blogosphere with numerous postings lambasting what was seen as an insenstive move by a government-linked company. TV3 officials could not be reached for comment.

Malaysia’s government has struggled to balance relations between Muslims, who make up a majority of the country’s 28 million people, and minority Hindus, Christians and Buddhists who complain of growing religious intolerance.

Here’s the commercial (in Malay):

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One comment

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Maybe a flying carpet would have been more appropriate. The flower should have been our national red hibiscus!! But to me it seemed more like ET flying around using our local trishaw around our nation.
Take it in your stride TV3 – IT takes all kinds of people to make this nation great. Brave of you to appologise and move on.

Posted by krismalaysia | Report as abusive

[...] A Malaysian TV station has axed a commercial wishing Muslims a happy Eid al-Fitr because viewers complained the commercial was too [...]

[...] There has also been a steady drip of racial posturing in the media during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan with an opposition ethnic Chinese politician being attacked for visiting a mosque and a Ramadan ad campaign being pulled for having Christmas overtones. [...]