'World's worst car' jibe puts Malaysia's anger into Top Gear

NOTORIOUSLY opinionated television presenter Jeremy Clarkson has found himself embroiled in a row with the Malaysian government.

Clarkson savaged the Perodua Kelisa mini in a review on the TV programme Top Gear.

He said the model, 2,400 of which have sold in the UK, was "without doubt not just the worst car in its category, but in the world".

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The BBC presenter suggested the car's name sounded like a disease and he described the small, three-cylinder model as a "piece of junk" with no flair, no passion and designed just to make profit. He then further fuelled Malaysian ire by attacking a Kelisa with a sledgehammer, before suspending it from a crane and blowing it up.

Now MPs in the South-east Asian nation have accused Clarkson of knowing nothing about cars. Abdul Rahman Suliman, a deputy minister, told parliament: "He is like a football commentator who does not play football - but he knows the game."

Mr Suliman added that the car had gained the highest score for quality in a survey of customer satisfaction in the Asia Pacific region by the US-based automotive analysts JD Power.

And he dismissed the review as Clarkson's "personal opinion".

Mr Suliman was speaking after an opposition MP condemned the Top Gear review in the Malaysian parliament on Wednesday, a view backed by the government. The segment aired on the show last year.

Perodua also weighed into the controversy, claiming the attack on the Kelisa was designed to boost ratings for the show. Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar, the managing director, said 7,813 Kelisas have been exported so far, with nearly a third of them being sold in Britain. He added that Perodua has not received any complaints from distributors abroad.

Mr Hafiz said: "The fact that the car is selling well speaks for itself."

Clarkson was not available for comment last night.


JEREMY Clarkson has made a career out of abusing cars, counties and even entire countries.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Workers at the Vauxhall Vectra factory in Luton staged a walkout in 1995 after he rubbished their car on TV.

And Vauxhall demanded an apology and even threatened legal action until a new management team backed down.

Clarkson was accused of racism after he said Koreans were too busy "eating dogs" to design a decent-looking car.

He has outraged the Germans on a number of occasions, once raising both arms in a Nazi salute to a Mini, now built by BMW, a stunt which was condemned by German diplomats, who complained to the BBC.

He has also described BMWs as "Nazi staff cars" and said, when the firm was briefly owned by Rover, that "the British motor industry is really owned by Nazis".

And he caused outrage in the UK when, championing engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the BBC's 100 Greatest Britons, he attacked rival Winston Churchill as "just a drunk who happened to be in the right place at the right time".

Angry citizens in Norfolk formed a "We Hate Jeremy Clarkson Club" after he said local people "still pointed at cars".