Global hit song, 'Despacito', has stirred controversy in Malaysia as there were calls for the song to be banned from airwaves
According to media reports early yesterday, 19 July, the women's wing of Parti Amanah Negara (Awan) had urged the government to impose a restriction to stop radio stations in the country from playing the song because of its sexually explicit lyrics.
The Star Online reported the group's Arts and Culture chairperson Atriza Umar, as saying that Despacito and other songs with sexual and violent lyrics should be banned from playing as they are not suited to Eastern culture and Islam.
She said there was cause for concern as many young children were singing the song without actually understanding its lyrics.
"I regret that these problematic songs are not censored by the ministries responsible."
"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," she added.
Despacito means "slowly" in Spanish and it has become a viral pop phenomenon
The song by Puerto Rican pop artist Luis Fonsi featuring rapper Daddy Yankee was released in January.
A few months later, a song remix with popular Canadian icon Justin Bieber was released in April, reaching a wider audience worldwide.
The song has since broken many records, including being the fastest ever music video to hit two billion views (in just 154 days) and it is the most streamed song of all time as of yesterday, 19 July.
On the day this historic event was achieved, local broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) decided to stop playing Despacito
Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said yesterday, 19 July, that RTM is ceasing the broadcast of the song at its radio and TV stations with immediate effect.
He made the announcement last night after the ministry's open house event.
Salleh explained that the decision was made after a re-evaluation in the midst of concern over the content of its lyrics.
"Radio airwaves are but one of the many channels through which the public, especially the younger generation, hear those songs," Salleh told Free Malaysia Today.
"As such, we ask the radio stations to be sensitive to local norms and apply self-censorship of the song, be it by stopping the airplay or audio deleting part of the song," he said, adding that the public can still access through other mediums, especially online.
90% of Despacito is sung in Spanish, so not many people know what the lyrics actually mean in English.
Here's the English translation of the lyrics:
The move by RTM to stop playing Despacito has drawn mixed reactions from Malaysians
There are those who agreed that the song was not suitable for all audience due to its suggestive lyrics and they supported the decision to stop playing Despacito on local airwaves.
Some wanted the song to be banned because it was overplayed on local radio stations.
Meanwhile, quite a number of netizens have also voiced out their opinion and criticised the ban, saying that Despacito is "just a song" and the basis for banning the song for its lyrics is "ridiculous". They argued that this would set a precedent and in the future, others would be deprived of the pleasure of listening to the songs that they enjoy.
On the other hand, quite a number of people opined that imposing a ban in this day and age is irrelevant as people could still listen to it online if they want to.
Do you agree that Despacito should be banned? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.