Police have arrested one of Malaysia’s most popular music stars after complaints his most recent music video insults Islam. Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, was arrested on Sunday at Kuala Lumpur airport as he returned from overseas.
He is in custody over the song Oh My God, which is sung in Mandarin. The word “Allah” and sounds of the Islamic call to prayer are said to have been used in the four-minute video shot in Penang.
It also featured footage of Namewee dressed in different religious clothing performing inside a mosque, a church as well as temples. The 33-year-old musician, who is also a film director, is being investigated for defiling a place of worship with the intent of insulting a religion.
Penang district police chief Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said he is being held for four days. If convicted he could face up to two years in prison.
In July, several groups filed police reports claiming Namewee’s music video had insulted Islam. In response, he posted a YouTube video explaining he had no intention of insulting any religion and he song was written to “promote harmony”.
The original music video is no longer available on the site, but a new version has been uploaded without the mosque scenes.
Namewee made headlines in 2007 when he posted a video with him rapping to Malaysia’s national anthem using anti-government lyrics.