KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia detained rapper Namewee on Thursday amid an uproar over an “obscene” Lunar New Year music video depicting people in dog masks dancing in what appears to be the administrative capital of Putrajaya.
This is not the first time the 34-year-old has courted controversy in the Muslim-majority country, where the government is planning to amend internet laws to broaden enforcement powers against content deemed detrimental to public order and security.
Police said in a brief statement that Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, was detained to aid investigations into a video clip he released that allegedly insults religion and stokes racial tension.
Senior ministers and critics had earlier called for Namewee to be investigated and arrested over the video titled “Like a Dog”, which they said was obscene and had disrespected Malaysia’s religious and cultural norms.
Dancers were seen mimicking sexual positions at the start of the video, which Namewee released just days before Lunar New Year celebrations marking the start of the Year of the Dog.
The video was shot in a static frame and had what looked like the building housing the prime minister’s office in the background.
Namewee was arrested in 2016, following a complaint that his music video titled “Oh my God!” had allegedly insulted Islam, the official religion in Malaysia.
He was released after four days in remand.
Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Nick Macfie