Malaysia bans ‘Despacito’ on national radio and TV for offensive lyrics

A parody of Despacito that has gone viral with over 370,000 views.
Screengrab/ SGAG

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia has banned the catchy summer dance song “Despacito” from state radio and television broadcasts after critics in the Muslim-majority country complained the lyrics were obscene.

The ban was announced on the government’s Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) on Wednesday (July 19) by Salleh Said Keruak, the communications and multimedia minister, but the song can still be played on private stations and online platforms.

“As such, RTM will not be airing the song on any of its television or radio stations with immediate effect,” the minister said in a statement to Reuters, adding that the decision followed complaints from the public.

“This decision applies only to RTM,” he added. “All other TV and radio stations are guided by their own evaluation processes against the Communications and Multimedia Content Code.”

The women’s wing of a Malaysian Islamist party, Amanah, had called for a ban over the song’s “obscene lyrics”.

“I see this as a serious matter as the song is being sung by young people without knowing the real meaning of the words,” Amanah official Atriza Umar said in a statement.

The song, first released in January in Spanish by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee and then in a remixed version featuring Justin Bieber, has topped charts in 35 countries around the world and dominated radio.

Its 4.6 billion streams on leading platforms make it the most successful Spanish-language pop song of all time.

Malaysia has previously blocked the release of Hollywood movies deemed offensive to religious values. The release of Walt Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” was postponed this year after censors cut a “gay moment” in the film.

Here are some quirky renditions of the hit song that popped up on social media news feeds recently.

A Singapore production by social media site SGAG, “Breakfasito” was released during the Ramadan period and has since been viewed over 370,000 times.

Another parody was done by some talented Malaysians who rewrote the lyrics into a song about a heartbroken man who was cheated on by his lover.

The entire song is in Malay and has been viewed around 3,500 times.

Posted by Malaysian TV artiste Danny Koo on his personal Facebook page, his cover of Despacito in a mix of Mandarin and Malay garnered him almost 760,000 views.

A four-year project in the making, the wife of Raúl Amador Márquez recorded his snoring and remixed it with the help of her nephew to the tune of Despacito.

The video went viral after Peruvian actress Daniela Camaiora shared it on Facebook according to The Daily Mail.

Last but not least, who can forget this rendition by Philippino-Canadian singer and funnyman which has garnered more than 2.8 million video views on YouTube. Word of caution: What has been seen cannot be unseen.