Malaysian film star Michelle Yeoh has been heavily criticized following a report that she will attend a function in support of the country’s ruling coalition as a divisive election looms.
Supporters of the political opposition, which is mounting a serious challenge in the May 5 polls, branded the 49-year-old star of “The Lady” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” a traitor and government stooge.
The controversy erupted after a report last week said Yeoh, Malaysia’s most internationally-known celebrity, would attend a huge dinner party this Saturday attended by Prime Minister Najib Razak and other ruling coalition leaders.
The event near the capital Kuala Lumpur is being put on by a group of Malaysian ethnic Chinese business figures and aims for 55,000 guests in a bid to set a new world record, reports have said.
Yeoh is a source of pride in Malaysia for her successful acting career but the reaction has highlighted Malaysia’s deeply-polarized politics.
Internet users said the report indicates that Yeoh supports the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which is struggling to prevent a slide in support over persistent allegations of corruption, authoritarianism and misrule.
Yeoh has not publicly commented and her publicity handlers did not immediately respond.
The actress received acclaim for her portrayal of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011’s “The Lady” and was later made a “Datuk Seri,” a Malaysian honorary title similar to a British knighthood.