By Tashny Sukumaran
PETALING JAYA: Popular news anchor and television personality Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi claims she has been ‘suspended’ by a local TV station until her hair, which she cropped for charity, grows back.
Ras Adiba, who works on a freelance basis for NTV7, cropped her hair Friday to show her solidarity with Makna’s (National Cancer Council of Malaysia) Jom Botak (jombotak.makna.my) cancer awareness campaign.
She has also pledged to raise RM50,000 in donations for the charity.
She claimed the station found her new look too much to handle, ruling that she could no longer appear on air until her hair grows back to an acceptable length.
In a statement issued later on Tuesday, Media Prima which owns NTV7 said that they had not suspended Ras for shaving her head bald.
“We are still discussing with Ras Adiba on how best we can assist her and the cancer awareness programme which she is supporting,” read the statement released by Media Prima’s Group Corporate Communications division.
“Media Prima is very supportive of cancer awareness as well as other charity programmes and our track record of this speaks volumes.”
A source from NTV7 had earlier told The Star Online that Ras Adiba had approached them before getting shorn, and the management had told her from the start that if her hair was cropped, she would not be allowed to announce the news.
She was told that once her hair had grown, she could resume her part-time position as newscaster.
“We can’t put a bald person on air, especially for news and the anchor is a woman. We have to upkeep a certain look and feel.
“Ras suggested a wig, which we were against because it would look strange for her to appear on air in a wig and then in public with a shaved head,” the source said.
The source also added that the station’s management had fully supported Ras Adiba’s cause and had left the decision to her.
Ras Adiba’s shorn head has also resulted in a further backlash, with her receiving anonymous calls abusing her for defying a fatwa that prohibits women from shaving their head.
“The callers claimed to be from a religious department,” she told The Star Monday.
However, Ras Adiba said she did her research before cutting off her locks and pointed out that she still had hair and that her scalp could not be seen.
She said she would not be stop because it was for a good cause.
“I am answerable to God. Islam is a way of life, and we are told to always help people. I am a Muslim, I pray five times a day and I love my religion,” she said.
Ras Adiba, who is a paralympian, explained that she had cropped her hair as a sign of solidarity with cancer patients, having members of her own family who had been afflicted with the disease.
“My late stepfather died of cancer, my uncle is a cancer survivor. I have many friends going through it, and it breaks my heart.”
She has currently taken to wearing a turban chosen for her by her young son, as she finds it comfortable. – The Star