Screen ‘Tanda Putera’ uncut or we will make an Anwar movie, Perkasa says
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Datuk Shuhaimi Baba’s latest film ‘Tanda Putera’ must be screened uncensored, Malay rights group Perkasa said today despite an uproar from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders about the movie for allegedly portraying the Chinese community and DAP in a negative light in scenes depicting the May 13, 1969 race riots.
The award-winning director’s controversial retelling about the administration of Malaysia’s first two prime ministers amid the bloody May 13, 1969 race riots has been criticised by some PR politicians for its allegedly historically-innacurate depiction.
But Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali today backed Suhaimi, saying the film was historically accurate.
“The film is about history, even if the plot or scenes were controversial, we cannot change history and PR does not need to make that an issue,” he told a news conference.
“We will negotiate and help Tanda Putera’s film director to screen it without being it being censored,” he added.
The independent MP for Pasir Mas rapped the PR opposition pact for claiming that the film could stoke racial tensions.
“Don’t make this about party interests, this historical film must be screened for the people to remember and appreciate the country’s peace and not just think negatively.
“I propose if PR still wants to make an issue out of this film, I will make a film about the opposition leader,” Ibrahim said, referring to PKR’s de facto chief, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He did not say what such a film on Anwar would focus on, but Perkasa has been a vocal critic of the opposition leader.
Several film critics have accused the RM4.8 million movie — fully funded by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and the Multimedia Development Corporation (Mdec) — of demonising early leftist movements and more hero-worship than tribute to the country’s second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was also father to the current PM, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.
The trailer for the movie is reported to show scenes of Chinese groups marching through the streets of Kuala Lumpur after the success of the opposition parties in municipal elections carrying the Labour Party flag and other banners proclaiming anti-Malay slogans.
The banners written in Chinese characters depicted slogans that translated into ‘Malays go back to the village’, ‘Malays go die’ and ‘Take revenge’.
There has also been unverified reports that the film also shows DAP leader Lim Kit Siang desecrating a Malaysian flag.
The film’s release has been put off pending a review by the authorities.
Perkasa: ‘Tanda Putera’ historical, not racist
Perkasa has found the controversial film Tanda Putera “has no racist elements” and was written based “purely on historical facts”.
Its president Ibrahim Ali said these are the findings of vice-president Zulkifli Noordin who was given a recent sneak preview of the yet-to-be-released film.
“It is like speaking about Article 153 of the federal constitution. It’s not racist, but fact. The film only depicts what actually happened,” he told reporters today.
Ibrahim, however, could not confirm if there was a scene depicting DAP leader Lim Kit Siang urinating on the Malaysian flag, as was suggested on the film’s Facebook page.
The posting was later removed by the page moderator, while Lim has vehemently denied the claim.
“I don’t know, I didn’t watch it myself,” Ibrahim said.
A film on Anwar?
Ibrahim also said Perkasa is in talks with the film director Shuhaimi Baba to assist her in screening the film without any censorship.
He said that Perkasa is willing to host “premier screenings in every state” of the government-funded film which focuses on May 13, 1969 racial riots and the relationship between second premier Abdul Razak Hussein and then-home minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.
Pakatan Rakyat had earlier sought a sneak preview of the film to see if it contains racist elements, claiming there was a hint of this in the trailer for the film.
Commenting on this, Ibrahim said PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim should stay true to his vows of openness, and not support censorship.
“I want to direct a film on Anwar soon if he doesn’t stop poking his nose in this Shuhaimi Baba film,” he joked.
“After all, I’m a mass communications graduate.”
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