KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Astro Awani’s live telecast of the state funeral for Lee Kuan Yew today drew anger from some Malaysians who questioned the satellite broadcast channel’s purpose in giving such prominent airplay to Singapore’s founding father.
In airing their grievances on Astro Awani’s Facebook page — some of which were riddled with expletives — the upset subscribers accused the Malaysian channel of being “pro-Singapore” in according full coverage to a political leader whom they felt did not impact Malaysia’s history or development.
“I paid so much not for you people (Astro) to do a live coverage of this apek. If it is a Quranic recital or Ustad Azhar Idrus, I don’t mind but this? Might as well cancel my Astro subscription,” said one Facebook user who went by the moniker Paksu Yg Punyerr in Bahasa Malaysia.
In a profane-laden vitriolic rant against the Malay-language broadcast channel, Facebooker Shahrul Azyzy Suria Ahmad posted in the national language, “ASTRO P***MAK, WANT TO LIFT EVEN THIS SINGAPORE COMMUNIST STOOGE,,, WHAT IS HIS CONTRIBUTION TO ISLAM IN SINGAPORE AND MALAYSIA?”
Lee was known to be a fierce anti-communist.
Another commenter, Fairus Salleh questioned Lee’s “importance” to Malaysia and Astro Awani’s choice of news coverage.
“Come one, Awani, why do this coverage? Is he that important. What did he do for this country?
“Might as well provide news coverage of problems affecting the people,” Fairus said, also in Malay.
Facebook user Mohd Azril Abdul Aziz went a step further, and accused Astro Awani of pandering to Singaporean interests.
“Why is Astro Awani being pro-Singapore, don’t have to do a live telecast of a dead Chinese. If it was the passing of a Malay ruler it is fine... Astro Astro, we are Malaysians in Asean why the need to do this to pay respects... Chinese will be Chinese,” Mohd Azril said.
But some other Facebook users appeared uncomfortable with the tone of the general comments aimed at Astro Awani and urged for calm and respect for the late Lee.
“LKY (Lee Kuan Yew) was one of those who fought for independence of Malaya and the Straits Settlements. He was part of our pre-1965 history,” said Andrew Yeong Endroo G.
Astro Awani had posted a message on its Facebook page in Malay earlier this morning informing viewers to tune in to Channel 501 and its website to follow the live broadcast of Lee’s state funeral procession in Singapore from 12.30pm.
Lee, who transformed Singapore from a backwater to one of Asia’s richest nations in three decades died on March 23 after being admitted to hospital for severe pneumonia. He was 91.
Astro Awani has yet to respond to queries from Malay Mail Online over the matter.