Malaysia to ask Interpol for help to track down comedian over MH370 joke

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Malaysia is seeking Interpol’s help in tracking down a New York-based comedian who joked about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Jocelyn Chia, a US national who grew up in Singapore, is being investigated under laws related to incitement and offensive online content, police say.

Her joke, posted online last week, prompted an official protest from Malaysia and an apology from Singapore.

MH370 went missing after taking off from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014.

Despite a four-year search in the Indian Ocean, the main body of the plane was never found. All 239 people on board are presumed dead.

On Tuesday Malaysian national police chief Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said an application was going to be filed with Interpol to get Ms Chia’s “full identity” and “latest location”.

The row began after she posted a clip of her recent stand-up set at Manhattan’s Comedy Cellar venue.

It included a routine about the historic rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia, which were once briefly part of the same country.

Noting that Singapore had risen to be a “first-world country” while Malaysia remained “developing”, she joked that Malaysian airplanes “cannot fly”.

Ms Chia added: “Malaysian Airlines going missing not funny huh? Some jokes don’t land.”

The video, which created uproar in Malaysia, was removed by TikTok, which cited a violation of its hate-speech guidelines.

Singapore’s ambassador to Malaysia said Ms Chia did not speak for Singaporeans. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s foreign minister, condemned her “horrendous statements”.

On Sunday, Ms Chia told CNN that she had performed the routine “more than 100 times” without any problems.

She added that she stood by the joke and that the clip had been taken out of context.

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