M'sian national hockey player under investigation for racial slur about A R Rahman concert

Hanis Onn will face a disciplinary committee.

Tan Min-Wei | February 01, 2023, 11:25 AM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh has instructed the Malaysian National Sports Council to investigate a national hockey player for using racially insensitive language.

Racially charged stereotypes

Malaysian national hockey player Hanis Onn commented on an Instagram video showing the audience for A. R. Rahman's Jan. 28 concert, alluding to a negative racial stereotype.

The 26 year-old is characterised by Malaysian outlet Says as a "star player", and considers her a highly influential young personality.

A. R. Rahman, the legendary Indian composer, recently played to a packed Bukit Jalil stadium. The concert had many luminaries in attendance, including Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

The video was innocuous enough, showing the gathered audience.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kosmo! Online | Akaun Rasmi (@kosmo_online)

According to Coconuts KL, Hanis apparently commented on the video, stating:

"Bau best lah kat dalam tuh (laughing emoji)"

Image via r/Malaysia

Roughly translated, it says "The smell in there must have been the best", playing into the racially-charged stereotype that Malaysian Indians have body odour.

The comment was first surfaced by the Malaysia subreddit, where commenters decried it as racist.

Hanis has since issued an apology, and turned her Instagram account private.

Saying her comment was an "error" and "careless", she said that throughout her 10 year hockey career she had been "surrounded with friends from various races".

Ministerial level disapproval

However, the outcry over the comment has not gone unnoticed by sporting authorities in Malaysia.

Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh was asked about the comment at the end of a press conference on Jan. 31.

According to Says, Yeoh said that she had instructed the National Sports Council to conduct an investigation into the comment. She also said that the Council and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation would be discussing the matter later in the day.

Once she had had heard from the council, only then would she make a formal decision about the the matter.

New Straits Times reported that Hanis will face the disciplinary committee of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.

Confederation president Subahan Kamal said, "We are concerned over the matter and as the minister had said, there's no room for racism in sports. We have always reminded our athletes to be tactful with their conduct as they are public figures."

More racist comments

While the concert was generally well-received, there was at least one other racist incident to emerge on social media.

therakyatpost reported on yet another Instagram user who used a racist term to describe the music that was being played.

The Instagrammer had posted a story of her at the concert, but with a caption saying that she preferred Hindustani songs, and that the K****g songs were "making her dizzy".

However, the song was actually in Hindi.

Top image via @TeamMsia/Twitter