PETALING JAYA, Aug 7 — Rocker Datuk Ramli Sarip’s rendition of Singapore’s national anthem Majulah Singapura is not going down well with his fellow countrymen.
The 66-year-old rock star beloved here and and at home across the Causeway, also known as “Papa Rock” and “Malaysia’s King of Rock”, recently belted out a more sombre version of the song during rehearsals for the National Day Parade that drew ire from Singaporeans on popular tech forum HardwareZone.
Several users criticised his singing skills and dished out racist remarks in their scathing reviews of his performance.
“if you are singing it this way, we might as well half-mast the flag,” wrote darksiedluv.
“Limpei (slang for referring to oneself in a superior manner) can sing national anthem better than this Malay ahpek,” said Rainowar.
“Why is he singing like it’s some praying song in a mosque?” wrote testart.
A number of users claim that Ramli should be arrested for violating the Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act by performing a “funeral-like” arrangement of the song.
However, others came to the rocker’s defense saying that downtempo rearrangements of Majulah Singapura were not new and were previously well-received by the public, citing an acapella version by The Apex Project and a heartfelt rendition by singer Priscilla Chan as evidence.
Ramli who is credited as one of the founders of Singapore’s rock scene, was frontman and lead singer of the rock group Sweet Charity until 1986.
The incident is a familiar one, with local R&B songbird Jaclyn Victor the target of similar backlash for her heartfelt rendition of Negaraku with her powerhouse vocals during the 2013 Malaysia FA Cup Final at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Critics accused her of trying to imitate the bravado of US singers at the Super Bowl.
Local rapper Namewee also stirred up controversy when he sampled the national anthem in his parody rap song Negarakuku in 2007.