Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysian newspaper apologised on Monday over a cartoon of the tsunami in Japan after many complained that it was insensitive to the tragedy that has killed thousands.
The cartoon depicting the Japanese costume hero Ultraman fleeing an oncoming tsunami appeared in the Sunday edition of the Malay-language daily Berita Harian. It immediately provoked protests, leading to the newspaper to publish an apology on its front page on Monday.
"We have no intention of making fun or showing insensitivity towards last Friday's disaster," Berita Harian said.
"We are sad for the Japanese people who have lost their family members and property. Our illustrator would also like to apologise for the cartoon that has created a controversy. We truly sympathise with the tragedy and once again would like to apologise for the grievances that arose from the publication of the cartoon."
The newspaper said it had received many phone calls and complaints via social media.
"It is so insensitive," one Hamdi Ishak commented on the Berita Harian Facebook page. "How can you treat the tsunami as a joke?"
Politicians have also joined in the fray. The opposition launched a campaign to get the public to sign an online petition to protest the "inappropriate cartoon".
First Published: Monday, March 14, 2011, 15:32