Fake story that Malaysia declared a public holiday to celebrate Michelle Yeoh’s Oscars win forces government to issue statement telling everyone to go to work
A fake story that said Malaysia had declared a public holiday to celebrate Michelle Yeoh’s Sunday night Oscars win has forced the government into issuing a statement urging people to go to work.
An image, supposedly from Malaysia’s popular English-language newspaper The Star, showed the publication running with the headline: ‘PM Anwar declares public holiday on a Wednesday: “This is the pride of a nation!”‘ on Monday.
But Star Media Group Bhd, which owns the outlet, quickly debunked it by saying the image was a ‘misrepresentation of The Star’s actual news coverage’ – dashing the hopes of the country’s workers.
This was soon followed by a release from the Prime Minister’s office, declaring ‘the news is FAKE’, putting any dreams Malaysians had for an extra day off – courtesy of their home-grown Hollywood star – to bed.
‘People are requested not to spread or share any uncertain or false information,’ the Prime Minister’s office pleaded on Facebook.
An image, supposedly from Malaysia’s popular English-language newspaper The Star, showed the publication running with the headline: ‘PM Anwar declares public holiday on a Wednesday: “This is the pride of a nation!”‘ on Monday. It was quickly debunked as ‘PALSU’ (fake)
The quote used in the fake image appeared to reference an earlier statement from Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, congratulating Yeoh on her win.
Star Media Group said: ‘It has come to the company’s attention that a picture, depicting a manipulated image which misuses The Star’s identity, is making the rounds on social media.’
‘Star Media Group would like to reiterate that it has not published any news regarding the announcement of a March 15, 2023 public holiday.’
In its rebuttal, the publication shared the fake image, this time with a large red ‘PALSU’ (fake) label stamped over the picture.
The company urged readers to ‘check on the Lifestyle section of The Star’s portal, which houses the Entertainment category.’ Doing so, it said, ‘confirms that no such article was carried amid the slew of news on Yeoh’s historic Best Actress win’.
‘The public is urged to double check the authenticity of any such circulated images by visiting [the website] and reading our verified news, straight from the source.’
Born in the city of Ipoh in peninsular Malaysia, Yeoh was hailed at home for her win.
Michelle Yeoh’s mother cried for joy for her ‘little princess’ when the Malaysian performer became the first Asian to win the best actress Oscar.
Yeoh’s family and two Cabinet ministers were among the supporters roaring with joy at Yeoh’s win during a special Academy Awards viewing party in Malaysia on Monday morning. Her trophy for her performance as a laundromat owner was one of seven Oscars for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,’ including best picture.
Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh accepts the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 12, 2023
Janet Yeoh, right, mother of Michelle Yeoh, celebrates after her daughter won in the best actress category during the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, as seen in a live view event at a cinema in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, March 13
Janet Yeoh, 84, praised the actor as intelligent and hardworking and a filial daughter.
‘I so love my daughter and she has made Malaysia proud,’ Yeoh told a news conference after the viewing at a cinema in Kuala Lumpur.
‘Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can)!’
Janet Yeoh said she was immensely proud of ‘my little princess,’ who wanted to be a ballerina before entering the movie world.
Yeoh said she pushed her daughter out of her cocoon despite protests from her late husband, a lawyer whom she described as ‘old-fashioned.’
In her acceptance speech, Yeoh dedicated her award to her mother and said ‘all the moms in the world’ were the real superheroes.
Shortly after, Yeoh made a video call to her mom, holding up her trophy in triumph.
‘It was such a jaw-dropping moment. I was speechless, I cried,’ said Vicki Yeoh, Michelle Yeoh’s niece, who was at the special viewing.
‘The nominees are really strong, but we had no doubt. We keep telling her that you will win – you will stand on the stage with the golden man.’
In his statement, Prime Minister Anwar said Malaysia’s government joined the nation to congratulate Yeoh for creating history.
‘Coupled with this achievement, Michelle’s illustrious and exemplary career in this field will certainly continue to be a source of great inspiration and motivation to our homegrown actors and actresses and provide even greater impetus to the growth of our local industry,’ Anwar said in a statement. ‘Way to go, Michelle!’
Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, who was also at the viewing, immediately posted on social media: ‘Most inspiring quote for all of us aunties – “Ladies, don’t let anybody ever tell you that you are past your prime” – Michelle Yeoh.’
Lawmakers Sim Tze Sin and Wee Ka Siong thanked Michelle Yeoh for ‘breaking glass ceilings’ for Asian and Malaysian women.
They praised her for being an icon for resilience and perseverance.
Yeoh’s trophy for her performance as a laundromat owner was one of seven Oscars for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,’ (pictured) including best picture
Michelle Yeoh, 60, learned ballet before turning to acting. Her first major Hollywood role was playing a Chinese spy in the Bond film ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ in 1997 alongside Pierce Brosnan.
She gained renown for her role in the 2000 martial arts masterpiece ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,’ a best-picture nominee that won the Oscar for best foreign language film.
Yeoh had more recent success in the 2018 movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ in 2021.
‘We are incredibly proud. We hope she goes to break more records and win more awards,’ her nephew Kelvin Yeoh said.
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