AirAsia has been called to withdraw an advertisement placed on its planes, which has been deemed by some quarters to be offensive to nurses.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has also asked AirAsia to offer an immediate apology to all nurses in Malaysia.

A photograph of the advertisement sent to Astro AWANI showed that the advertisement was plastered on the backseat of an AirAsia plane. Its copy said:"You want your momma, because you are in the hospital with lousy nurses."

The advertisement promoted the Tune Insurance Malaysia travel protection package.

MMA president Datuk Dr N.K.S.Tharmaseelan said that the advertisement was offensive as it belittled the nursing profession.

“MMA is perturbed and objects to the offensive advertisement featured on the seatbacks of Air Asia planes,” said Tharmaseelan.

Tharmaseelan added that the advertisement, carried all over their service routes would be viewed by people of all nationalities and give travellers a negative impression of Malaysian nurses.

“Painting an entire profession in ugly colours with the same brush is grossly unfair. Air Asia should vet adverts and not blindly accept adverts drawn up by their agents. The placing of such an advert is incomprehensible,” he said.

“This advert shows utter lack of understanding of the role of nurses. The basic role of nurses is to care for others in the best way possible- night or day.

“This advert reveals a condescending attitude , that verges on arrogance. This attitude that reveals a lack of care and empathy for others is to be abhorred ," said Tharmaseelan

Meanwhile, a petition started by one “Seok Lee” on for the advertisement to be withdrawn has drawn more than 1,000 signatures.

“The ad seems to suggest that nurses are nothing more than maternal substitutes who wipe brows and fluff pillows.

“This unskilled stereotype contributes to the undervaluation of nursing by promoting the idea that nursing is not a distinct or substantial profession through which science-educated men and women save lives," said the petition.