‘No Oscars holiday’ for Michelle Yeoh’s win, says Malaysian government

(CNN) Michelle Yeoh’s history-making Oscar win sparked jubilation this week in her native Malaysia, but it also 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 revealed a doctored image that had been doing the rounds on chat apps.

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

It appeared to refer to an earlier statement by Anwar in which he congratulated Yeoh on his victory.

There was “no truth” to the claims of an Oscar holiday, Anwar’s office said in a statement. “The news is fake,” it said. “The public is encouraged not to disseminate or share unsafe 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 “true representation of (its) actual news coverage.”

“It has come to the company’s attention that an image showing a manipulated image misusing The Star’s identity is circulating on social media,” the group said in a statement.

“Star Media Group would like to reiterate that it has not published any news regarding the announcement of a public holiday on 15 March 2023.

“The public is encouraged to double-check the authenticity of such circulated images by visiting (our website) and reading our confirmed news directly from the source.”

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

Yeoh was born in the city of Ipoh on Peninsular Malaysia and got his start in a series of action films from Hong Kong.

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

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.

Footage of the room erupting in cheers went viral, and Yeoh also dedicated her Oscar moment to her mother.

“I’m taking this home to her,” Yeoh said in his acceptance speech. “She’s watching right now 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 triumphant daughter.

“I am very happy… I am proud of my daughter. She is very hardworking,” her mother told local reporters. “I am calling 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 “a jaw-dropping moment”.

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