Despacito is the most-played track in the world – but Malaysians won’t be singing along

An Islamic party earlier denounced the song and called for it to be kept off Malaysia’s airwaves as many young children were singing the song without understanding the words

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 July, 2017, 3:12pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 July, 2017, 10:26pm

Muslim-majority Malaysia has stopped playing the sexually charged song Despacito on public broadcast stations, a senior minister said after critics labelled it un-Islamic.

Salleh Said Keruak, communications and multimedia minister, said his ministry received numerous complaints over the steamy lyrics of the reggaeton beat song that has won international popularity.

Despacito will not be aired by the government-owned broadcast stations because we received public complaints. The lyrics are not suitable to be heard,” he said.

Salleh urged private radio stations to censor the song themselves out of sensitivity to local culture.

An Islamic party earlier denounced the song and called for it to be kept off Malaysia’s airwaves as many young children were singing the song without understanding the words.

“We respect the right to be entertained but there should be clearer guidelines so that the entertainment does not spoil people but makes them better,” party official Atriza Umar told The Star newspaper.

“I regret that these problematic songs are not censored by the ministries. I urge the authorities to ban this song and other songs that contain sexy and violent lyrics which are not suitable in accordance with Islam and our eastern culture.”

The Southeast Asian country has strict censorship laws, and has in the past banned songs with foul language and cut or axed films deemed too sexy or dealing with sensitive issues.

The Spanish-language song – its title means “slowly” – was released by Puerto Rican artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee in January. The original and a remix featuring Justin Bieber together are the most streamed track of all time with more than 4.6 billion plays across streaming platforms. The previous record was held by Bieber for his 2015 song Sorry.

In English, the song’s lyrics include the chorus: “I want to breathe your neck slowly / Let me tell you things in your ears / So that you remember when you’re not with me / Slowly / I want to undress you with kisses slowly / Sign the walls of your labyrinth / And make your whole body a manuscript /

Turn it up turn it up ... turn it up, turn it up”.

When the record was announced earlier this week, Fonsi credited streaming for helping his music reach every corner of the planet.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse