Racy anthem hits the wrong note

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2005, 12:00am

A pop singer's rendition of the national anthem has the authorities standing to attention in Malaysia.

Hattan, who goes by one name, allegedly jazzed up the anthem before a capacity crowd of 50,000 football fans at a Malaysia Cup final match on Saturday. In doing so, he angered many politicians at the stadium with his racy recital, which was sung before the king.

On Monday, a politician even sang the correct version and the racier version in parliament.

'He ridiculed the national anthem ... it is tantamount to disloyalty to the king and country,' said MP Mohamed Aziz. 'He must be penalised.'

The government promised an immediate investigation. Ridiculing or disparaging the national anthem is an offence punishable with a fine and a month in jail.

The anthem has been revised three times in as many years. The original, sung during independence in 1957, had a slow beat. The tempo was quickened in 2002 and 2003. But after objections from the public, it was toned down last year.

Hattan said: 'I am a mature singer and the version that I sang is the correct version. I am also a patriotic person by nature.'