Preeti Nair and her brother, Subhas Nair
Preeti Nair and Subhas Nair Instagram grab

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday evening, August 2 described a statement put out by YouTubers Preetipls, whose real name is Preeti Nair and her brother, Subhas Nair to apologise for their controversial rap video, as "mock, insincere apology".

MHA stated that "It is a spoof of an earlier apology issued by Havas Worldwide for the e-pay advertisement."

As per the ministry, it is a "pretence of an apology, and in fact, shows contempt for the many Singaporeans who have expressed concern at their blatantly racist rap video."

In an Instagram post, the duo stated that they were "sorry for any hurt" caused by the video they created to criticise a NETS E-Pay advertisement.

The post added, "We're sorry for any hurt that was unintentionally caused. Behind the music video is an initiative to provide greater consciousness to consumers, corporations, and the many faces of Singapore."

The siblings also mentioned that the message behind the video was that opportunities must be for everyone and for that reason "K Muthusamy, well-known for his ability to address privilege, power and censorship in a single production in a light-hearted way, was selected as the face of this music video.

"He speaks to characters from all walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that only some people truly pay."

The apology closely followed the wording of an apology statement which was issued by advertising and public relations company Havas and Mediacorp's Celebrity Agency, which were involved in producing a controversial ad that featured a Chinese actor in "brownface". It should be noted that the agenda of the ad was to show that the e-payment is for everyone. However, e-payment firm Nets, which was also involved in this campaign, apologised for the advertisement.

E-pay ad
E-pay ad Twitter grab

As for the siblings, they created the video in response to the ad and to point out racism in it. But the Singapore authorities said that the video has crossed the line and insulted the Chinese Singaporeans.

In addition, MHA said earlier also the duo had expressed racist sentiments. As per the ministry almost a year ago, Preeti Nair published a video where she acted as a Chinese and mocked the Chinese community's practice, culture, as well as tradition and portrayed Chinese as "money-minded gamblers."

Her brother also wrote for Mediacorp as part of this year's National Day celebrations and the lyrics were, "We live in a system that has normalised us... to walk oblivious to a brown man stopped and ID checked," adding that "This is blatantly false."

MHA clearly mentioned that the ministry will take action whenever there are offensive statements that violate Singapore's law, regardless of the race of the offender. While explaining, MHA said that in 2018, a 36-year-old Indian lady published comments that made racial insinuations and after investigation, police in consultation with the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), issued her a stern warning.

Even this year a Chinese man was charged for deliberate intent to harm the racial feelings of the Malay population. The ministry stated that the accused "scrawled racist messages about Malays on walls in void decks and sheltered walkways. His messages had been seen by far fewer people" than the recent contents issues by Nair siblings, said the ministry.