KUALA LUMPUR: An MP who criticised the playing of Negaraku in cinemas in a Facebook post has since taken down the offending post and made an apology following public backlash.
Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen had said playing the national anthem in cinemas was a "disgrace and ridiculous".
"I would not know how to tell me friends overseas that we Malaysians are so patriotic that we play our national anthem before watching a movie," he posted on Facebook Tuesday evening.
He asked if the country was moving towards the communist Chairman Mao (founder of the People's Republic of China Mao Zedong) era, where the people had to shout out loud to show their patriotism.
Chong said he and his family were at the cinema last Saturday when the audience was asked to stand for the national anthem before the show.
"All the people around me looked at each other with the look of puzzle(ment) and amusement in their eyes. Some actually did (stand up), and some even laugh(ed) out in disdain," he said.
The DAP vice-chariman and Sarawak chairman retracted his post some three hours later and apologised for the comment.
"Though I feel that it is inappropriate to play the national anthem in a place of entertainment like (a) cinema, but the words I used have been inappropriate.
"I hereby retract the posting and apologise for the comment made. I do not mean to demean our national anthem.
"In fact, my family and I stood when the National Anthem was played at the time," he wrote.
His original post was slammed by netizens and several Cabinet Ministers, including Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Khairy Jamaluddin and Abdul Rahman Dahlan.