Payday sale: Malaysia’s go-to e-commerce site promotes Nazi uniforms

Photos courtesy of Hadi Azmi
Photos courtesy of Hadi Azmi

In the realm of social media algorithms, receiving targeted advertisements has become a commonplace occurrence. These ads often range from the peculiar to the downright bizarre. However, this time around, it is rather concerning. 

Rising early one morning, at the ungodly hour of 6am, Hadi Azmi stumbled upon an Instagram advertisement that left him dumbfounded. It originated from a local Shopee account, promoting a customized German army cosplay uniform.

Photo courtesy of Hadi Azmi

At first glance, the advertisement seemed innocuous, but closer scrutiny revealed a disturbing detail. 

The design of the uniform and its accompanying emblems featured the infamous Swastika, albeit strategically blurred in the pictures provided by the seller. The price range for this costume was rather steep, spanning from RM386 (US$84) to RM660.

 The blurred Swastika symbols on two emblems that come with the outfit on Shopee vs an actual German army uniform model 1936 in the Army Museum in Stockholm via Wikimedia

It is crucial to note that this particular attire harkens back to the dark days of Nazi Germany and World War II, an era marred by Adolf Hitler’s tyrannical rule, the imprisonment of countless individuals, and the mass extermination of millions of Jews. 

This uniform was predominantly worn by Nazi officers from 1935 to 1945.

Hadi, still reeling from the shock, shared his disbelief with Coconuts, stating, “I thought I was still in the throes of a vivid dream, having just woken up. It’s alarming to witness Shopee not only selling such an item but also promoting it as a sponsored post in such a prominent manner.”

The seller, in the product description, attempted to justify the offering with a rather unsettling statement: “Setting aside any political inclinations, it is impossible to deny the aesthetically pleasing nature of Germany’s military uniforms. The dark military uniforms from World War II emanate a majestic and heroic aura, which still resonates with many today.”

Yes, you read that correctly.

Astoundingly, this controversial uniform has already found five buyers, each of whom awarded the seller a glowing five-star rating.

The question now arises: why should this concern Malaysians?

While some may dismiss it as merely an outfit, one must bear in mind that this content was sponsored and deliberately pushed towards social media users. Could there be a concealed political agenda lurking behind it? Such a query can only be met with speculation.

Nevertheless, let us not forget the racially-charged TikTok videos that emerged during the eagerly anticipated GE15, when Malaysia awaited its next prime minister. Social media users in the country reported an onslaught of posts alluding to the tragic race riot that transpired in Kuala Lumpur on May 13, 1969.

This violent incident, occurring shortly after opposition parties backed by the ethnic Chinese community gained electoral ground, resulted in the deaths of approximately 200 individuals.

A combination of historical ignorance and anti-Semitisim has led some Southeast Asians to become enamored with Nazi symbols and ideology, which are generally not as stigmatized as in Western countries.

Therefore, though seemingly harmless to the average Malaysian window shopping on Shopee, this is a matter that should be taken seriously.

Coconuts have reached out to Shopee but has yet to receive a reply. 



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