Anger simmers at MasterChef Singapore Chinese plan

Singapore is sometimes mocked as dull and criticised for its restrictions on civil liberties, but its strong rule of law is key in attracting businesses (AFP Photo/Roslan RAHMAN) (AFP/File)

Singapore (AFP) - A plan to air a Mandarin version of MasterChef in Singapore sparked anger Monday, with netizens claiming that the cooking show will not cater to all in the multi-ethnic country.

The competition, created in Britain in 1990, pits amateur chefs against each other in a pressure-cooker environment.

It has since seen several spin-offs featuring celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, including "MasterChef Asia" which was broadcast in English in 2015.

Announcing "MasterChef Singapore", national broadcaster Mediacorp said the programme would be shown on a free-to-air Chinese-language channel, and potential applicants were asked online to rate their fluency in Mandarin.

The city-state has a population that is over 70 percent ethnic Chinese but is also home to large Malay and Indian minorities, as well as many expatriates.

Singapore has four official languages -- English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil -- but people mainly communicate in English.

Facebook user Magen Prasad said the planned show was "catering to the majority race in Singapore. Minority race, we gotta deal with it".

"So what, Malays, Indians & Eurasians cant cook? What nonsense is this?" Shaik Syasa wrote on the networking site.

But Mediacorp insisted that contestants do not need to be fluent in Mandarin.

"For contestants, fluency... is not a prerequisite as translation services can be provided during the show," the broadcaster said in a statement.

"For television viewers, the series will be subtitled."

According to Mediacorp, the Chinese channel which will show the programme attracts the largest audience of any channel in its network.