‘No public Oscar holiday’ for Michelle Yeoh’s victory, Malaysian government says

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Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar win caused jubilation this week in her native Malaysia, but sparked false rumors that a national holiday had been declared – something the country’s government quickly dispelled.

In a statement published on its Facebook page on Monday, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s office released an image of a doctor who had been making the rounds on chat apps.

The image, dated March 13 and seen by CNN, showed a doctored news article from Malaysian newspaper The Star, with the headline: “PM Anwar declares public holiday on Wednesday: “This is pride of nation!

He appeared to be referring to an earlier statement from Anwar, congratulating Yeoh on her victory.

There was “no truth” in claims about Oscar’s public holiday, the statement from Anwar’s office read. “The news is fake,” he said. “The public is asked not to disseminate or share inaccurate or false information.”

Star Media Group, which runs an English-language online news portal and publishes a daily newspaper, also said the image was a “misrepresentation of (the) actual news coverage.”

“It has come to the attention of the company that a photo, showing a manipulated image that misrepresents The Star’s identity, is doing the rounds on social media,” the agency said in a statement.

“Star Media Group would like to reiterate that they have not released any news regarding the declaration of public holiday of 15th March 2023.

“The public is asked to double-check the authenticity of images being circulated by visiting (our website) and reading our verified news, straight from the source.”

Yeoh, 60, this week became the first Asian woman to win the Academy Award for best actress in a leading role for her performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Born in the city of Ipoh in peninsular Malaysia, Yeoh debuted in a series of Hong Kong action films.

She gained international fame after starring in the 1997 James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” and Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning 2000 “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

Janet Yeoh (centre R), mother of actress Michelle Yeoh, celebrates at an event in Kuala Lumpur on March 13, 2023 after her daughter won an Oscar.

Her victory speech was shown live at an event in the capital Kuala Lumpur on Monday, with her 84-year-old mother Janet in attendance.

There were pictures of the room erupting in cheers and Yeoh also gave her mother her Oscar moment.

“I’m bringing this home to her,” Yeoh said in her acceptance speech. “She is currently watching in Malaysia, KL, with my family and friends. I love you guys. I’m bringing this home to you,” she said.

Her mother shouted “Malaysia boleh! (Malaysia can do it)” in a later video chat with her influential daughter.

“I’m very happy… I’m proud of my daughter. She is very hardworking,” her mother told local reporters. “I will call her to come home (to Malaysia) and celebrate very soon. Next month is my birthday.”

Also in attendance was Yeoh’s niece Vicki, who called it an “amazing moment.”

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