Sep 2, 2013
What happened on May 13, 1969 was terrible, not just for every Malaysian, but also for the armed forces and the police. If the country is to move on and start the healing process, then the May 13 demons must be exorcised, once and for all; but first, the truth must be freed.
The National Operations Council (NOC) which was created in the aftermath of the disturbances by Najib Abdul Razak’s father, sought to return the country to normality, by restoring law and order, as well as re-establishing trust between the races. Its scope was limited and it did not seek to provide a definitive account of the tragedy.
If Najib is sincere in wanting reconciliation, one of the first things he should do is to hold an inquiry into the May 13 riots. Investigators will be hampered by Umno Baru’s unwritten rule, which is that anyone who disagrees with them is either Chinese or communist.
Sceptical Malaysians will accuse Umno Baru of refusing to learn or discover the root causes of the May 13 riots. Critics will worry about the cost and length of time for this inquiry. Many witnesses, victims, politicians, armed forces personnel, hospital staff or news correspondents, will have died. Memories of those who remain will have dulled with age.
Who will lead this inquiry? What will be the scope of this probe? Should the taxpayer be burdened with the cost? How will the government view the findings? Will families of the victims be given compensation or will an apology suffice? Will those who killed, in the line of duty, be prosecuted? Perhaps, the greatest fear is that this investigation will be another whitewash, just like previous inquiries.
The latest reviews on the mockumentary, ‘Tanda Putera’, which were garnered from the Internet, describe a badly produced film, littered with howlers.
If the film-producer, Shuhaimi Baba had done her homework properly, she would have discovered that there were many anachronisms, like CCTV and Proton cars.
Assuming the role of producer-cum-cinema-enforcer, Shuhaimi declared war on the cinemas which refused to screen her films and threatened them with closure. Was she not embarrassed that despite the hype around her film, each viewing attracted only a handful of patrons?
Most films become box-office hits when the threat of a ban generates massive free publicity.
In Shuhaimi’s case, ‘Tanda Putera’ bombed. It deserves the Golden Raspberry Award in recognition for all that is bad in film making.
Shuhaimi was under pressure to produce a propaganda film and the compulsory viewing suggests that Umno Baru is desperate. The first to view her film, despite a cabinet ban, was a group of university students and Felda settlers – an unwitting captive audience.
Khairy also practising double-standards?
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin urged that ‘Tanda Putera’ be screened outdoors, for public viewing, when Lim Guan Eng announced that the films need not be shown in Penang.
Khairy complained about double-standards and the chief minister’s lip-service to freedom of speech.
Isn’t Khairy also practising double-standards? Did he support the film, ‘The New Village’, and did he know that Malaysiakini was barred from the premiere of ‘Tanda Putera’?
MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek supported Khairy’s suggestion. Chua’s agreement smacks of political expediency, but Chua’s assessment of the scenes which depict the Chinese as aggressors would be more interesting.
Guan Eng did not ban cinemas from showing the film in Penang, he merely said that they need not show it. Conversely, Communications Minister Shabery Cheek and the film’s producer said that the licences of cinemas which did not screen the film would be withdrawn.
Shabery also called the DAP stupid and said that if DAP were to rule Malaysia, “art would not be allowed to grow, as the party was full of revenge and irrational sentiments”.
He conveniently forgot the recent furore about a Malaysian artist’s painting called ‘I is for Idiot’.
Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, the Culture and Tourism Minister, praised Shuhaimi for a well-researched film, before proceeding to blame the Chinese for starting the May 13 riots.
Is he unaware that Shuhaimi was economical with the truth?
Last year, critics slammed Shuhaimi for “historical inaccuracies” and she was forced to clarify that the scene of Lim Kit Siang urinating on a flagpole, was fictitious.
She may have claimed that the film described the relationship between Abdul Razak Hussein and his deputy Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, but she is wrong to state that these, “two men who gave up everything, including their lives for the country”.
These two men died in office. They may have dedicated their life’s work to the country, but they did not die for the country. Her remarks have insulted the memories of the people who died defending their country, against armed insurgents.
Shuhaimi’s reputation is damaged, and her film has bombed. Even if she were to screen the film for free, it is unlikely that people would come, especially after the many negative reviews. Cinemagoers have been warned.
Shuhaimi could learn from her masters, Umno Baru. Their ceramahs have low rates of attendance unless they provide pocket money, food and gifts. Shuhaimi might get higher attendances if she were to give food and money to everyone who sat through all 117 minutes of the film.
Umno Baru is reluctant to let the ghosts of May 13 rest because they are needed to perpetuate the myth that only Umno Baru can “save” the Malays. These ghosts help prolong the fears and insecurities, particularly at election time.
If Umno Baru can’t maintain the spectre of May 13, it will become irrelevant and redundant to the Malays, because there will be no “enemy” to defend against.
Umno Baru knows that Malaysians do not read, much. Many would rather watch a film than read about the May 13 incident.
Shuhaimi has been economical with the truth when making her mockumentary. It is widely believed that May 13 arose from a power struggle within Umno. The failure to quell the riots quickly also contributed to the large loss of life.
The people of Malaysia bear the mental and physical scars of May 13. A responsible government would allow its citizens to bury the ghosts of one of the most bloody episodes in their modern history.
The shadow cast by May 13 blights every Malaysian who wishes to get on with his life. If our leaders refuse this request, then it is our right to demand an exorcism.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).
Shuhaimi, you’re no Yasmin Ahmad
8:50AM Sep 6, 2013
YOURSAY ‘Yasmin continually produced socially responsible films and made it a point to reach out to all Malaysians. She never received death threats.’
Shuhaimi Baba on death threats and hell
Old Timer: What a pathetic woman! Made a lousy and inaccurate movie using taxpayers money, blame people for not watching her show, now begging cinemas to screen for two more days.
Shuhaimi Baba, it’s better for you to change your profession. You are just not cut out to be a credible movie director. Without the Umno members watching your show, the cinemas would be empty.
TehTarik: Another drama queen. Yesterday she was a persecutor and demanded that action be taken against her critics. Today she is behaving like a victim.
Shuhaimi should stop this emotional manipulation. She should realise that she has hurt the feelings of the families of the many who died during May 13.
Instead of being remorseful and showing empathy, she has resorted to emotional play and misused taxpayers funds.
Odin: Dear Malaysiakini editors and my fellow readers, this is to tell you that I’ve received scores of death threats this afternoon via cellphone calls, text messages, drum beats and smoke signals. If you don’t see me commenting over the next 72 hours, it means I am gone.
Like Shuhaimi, I don’t intend to make a police report because I am a brave person, whereas those people are cowards for threatening me anonymously. Now, don’t ask me whether I have their phone numbers.
The grouse of these people is that I have been making people laugh too hard through the scripts I have written for comedies.
They prefer that I make people weep and howl and beat their chests or gnash their teeth and tear up the cinema patrons around them as voluminous smoke erupts from a hole in the top of their heads instead as they watch the films for which I have written the scripts.
Oh, a big consolation – they all have said that they would be sending me off to heaven as a reward for making people laugh. So, don’t worry too much about me, all right?
HC: This is a pathetic attempt to win sympathy for what appears to be a movie resigned to commercial failure.
The only regret is that she’s been a recipient of public funds to make a movie which seeks to divide multicultural Malaysia. It’s funny how the artistic licence can be abused to pursue a certain political agenda. Disgusting.
Abasir: The late and greatly-admired Yasmin Ahmad continually produced socially responsible films and made it a point to reach out to all Malaysians. She never received death threats and she was never despised.
On the contrary, she received multiple accolades and thousands grieved her passing. Now she was a film-maker with social responsibility. Shuhaimi Baba is no Yasmin Ahmad.
Zam: DAP irate as its logo stands out in Tanda Putera
Karma: Former information minister Zainuddin Maidin (Zam) is another person in his community who has lost all credibility and embarrassed his own race.
His false accusation of budget airlines AirAsia serving pork is one example. His harping on the fault of the Chinese that caused the 1969 riot is very childish.
Wg321: Does Zainuddin want the present generation of Chinese, who was not yet born in 1969, to pay blood money for what happen in May 13,1969? Why reopened old wounds just because Umno lost its two-thirds majority in 2008 and 2013.
Today Umno is very revengeful against the Chinese for not ‘cooperating’ with the Malays but they have forgotten that Umno no longer represents all Malays in this country.
According to blogger Sakmongkol AK47, out of 7.3 million Malays who vote in GE13; 3.4 million voted for Umno but 3.9 million Malays voted for Pakatan Rakyat. The Chinese only wish to have a clean government by cooperating with the Malays in Pakatan. Is it seditious to do that?
Since that is not possible because of electoral gerrymandering, Umno-BN can go ahead to make Tanah Melayu bankrupt by rampant corruption, cronyism, nepotism, huge wastage and leakage of resources, warlordism, etc, etc; and ask PM Najib Razak to print more money to solve the national debt and to pay more BR1Ms.
Absalom: Zainuddin, I have a question for you – who would you call devious, good-for-nothing, racist scumbags enemies of the state?
Will it be some guys who got into emotional fights which went out of control some 44 years ago or these other guys who use that ugly episode in history to manipulate current public opinion, incite racial hatred, create tension and provoking people all for some selfish private agenda. Think about it.
Gigatt: From Wikipedia – In August 2013, Zainuddin was forced to apologise after AirAsia sent a letter of demand in response to a libelous article in his blog, in which he alleged that the prominent low-cost carrier served pork on its flights (pork is taboo food in Muslim-majority Malaysia).
AirAsia had called for Zainuddin to post an apology for six months in the said blog, but Zainuddin stated that the apology would be published indefinitely. Enough said.
MockingYou: If DAP leader Lim Kit Siang was guilty, then why no charge him back then. And why his current call for royal commission of inquiry into this tragedy did not receive any response from Umno Baru? The silence is thundering!
R1: This man should learn to shut his mouth. What about Gerakan? Had you forgotten about them?
Not Convinced: Clearly provocations were from all sides during May 13. If being provoked means a licence to kill, then Utusan Malaysia would have been burnt down by now.
My4Hope: My advice to DAP: Obviously ‘Tanda Putera’ has been intentionally used to hit DAP, so think properly how to handle this by not getting trapped and do not respond hastily and emotionally.
Get the two Pakatan allies to stand by you, as it is no longer your fight alone but for Malaysia’s future as a whole.
‘Tanda Putera’ is just the beginning. Expect more to come.
Vijay47: I always knew that Zainuddin was stupid. But I never in a million years imagined that his stupidity was of this degree. So ‘Tanda Putera’ is now the arbitrator of truth.
Tanda Putera, a replacement for Bukit Kepong
— Ravinder Singh
The Malay Mail Online
September 9, 2013
SEPT 9 — “Tanda Putera” was not a natural birth. In contrast, I believe, “Bukit Kepong” was.
“Bukit Kepong” was a film made in 1981 and based on an incident in Bukit Kepong in 1950. It portrayed a historical fact and was not produced with any ulterior motive.
However, certain vested interests saw how it could be put to political use. It became the prime weapon in the election campaigns of the ruling coalition. For the next several elections it became “mandatory” viewing by the electorate starting a few weeks before each election, and almost to the eve of the election.
The TV screening of the film was calculated to “motivate” the voters into supporting the ruling coalition to ensure a “peaceful” future. If not, another Bukit Kepong could happen again.
Impulses reaching the brain through the sense of sight are very powerful. They account for about 80 per cent of all that the mind absorbs. So, screening of the film at the critical hour before the elections was a calculated strategy to condition the minds of the viewers to believe something and react accordingly at the ballot box. It was mind-conditioning.
Having been used for campaigning purposes at a few elections, it had become stale. This is when someone got a brainwave to produce a designer movie to replace Bukit Kepong. This brainwave, I believe, did not originate in Shuhaimi Baba’s mind. It had to be the mind of a master strategist, as far as election campaigning goes, that came up with it.
After the brainwave, it had to be realised. If Finas itself produced it, it would be too obvious that it was a government propaganda film from the outset. So Finas had to take the back seat, while it provided all the funding to the tune of RM4.8 million of public funds. A willing producer had to be sourced, and was found in the person of Datuk Paduka Shuhaimi Baba.
Shuhaimi Baba therefore does not have to lament the box-office failure of “Tanda Putera”. It was never meant to be a film that would attract audiences. Its purpose was to send messages to people’s minds that would turn into votes for the BN.
Hence, despite a Cabinet “ban” on the screening of the film before the elections, it was “forced shown” to about 3,000 Felda settlers attending a function at the Putra World Trade Centre, and after that at a few institutions of higher learning. It is significant that the audiences to whom the film was “force shown” were from a certain ethnic group.
The question is, if we want to talk of 1 Malaysia, of unity and solidarity, of good inter-ethnic relations, then why was “Tanda Putera” financed by the government? Why was it shown to rural audiences just before the elections despite a Cabinet “ban”? Why was it shown only to people of a particular ethnicity?
Bukit Kepong was not produced with any motive of manipulating people’s minds. But when those in power saw the power of the movie to transmit fear into people’s minds, the movie was abused for that purpose. When it became stale, it had to be replaced by something new to carry on that motive of fear mongering. So another incident in the nation’s history came to the rescue.
Any movie re-enacting history has to be truthful. Shuhaimi Baba herself has admitted “Tanda Putera” is not truthful, and excuses it with the phrase “creative licence.”
Creative licence is not a licence to tell untruths. Spoken untruths may be forgotten after some time, but visual untruths get etched in the mind and people will actually believe they are truths. This has already happened as some who viewed the film say it is just depicting the truth and nothing but the truth!
So, what was the ulterior motive of producing “Tanda Putera?”
Kit Siang takes Puad, Zam and Utusan Malaysia to court over “urinating” comments
The Malaysian Insider – 2 hours 20 minutes ago
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang will take legal action against two Umno politicians and newspaper Utusan Malaysia for an article which implied that he had indeed urinated in front of the Selangor menteri besar’s home during the May 13 riots in 1969.
The article, which appeared in the daily on Saturday, quoted former deputy minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi as saying that the DAP had strongly criticised the controversial movie, Tanda Putera, to “hide Lim’s rudeness” when he had allegedly urinated on a flag during the incident.
The DAP veteran has denied the allegations and the movie director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba has confirmed that she had used her “creative licence” in coming up with the urinating incident.
“How can the former Umno deputy minister say that, and Utusan Malaysia publish such falsehood? This is a most irresponsible and downright lie.
“I was never in Kuala Lumpur at any time during the May 13 riots,” he reiterated.
Former Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin, in a blog post last Tuesday, had also accused Lim of having “sowed the seeds of death” in causing the May 13 riots.
“I have instructed my lawyers to institute legal proceedings against Zainuddin, Puad and Utusan Malaysia to clear my name, but the question is whether they will allow the dissemination of racist lies, poison and incitement to sacrifice the higher national interests of Malaysian nation-building,” Lim said in a statement today.
Tanda Putera has been the centre of controversy following concerns that some scenes and dialogue in the film could incite racial tension.
DAP and MCA had criticised the movie for showing that the Chinese was responsible for the May 13 riots.
Lim today also listed out six reasons why he could not have been responsible for the May 13 riots, including the fact that he was not in the capital city after the general election on May 10, revealing that he was actually in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah at that time.
He pointed out that he had not contested in any seat in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor in the 1969 general election. He had instead contested in the Bandar Melaka parliamentary seat.
“Thirdly, I would not have dared to return to Kuala Lumpur from Sabah if I had caused the riots by shouting anti-Malay slogans in victory processions in the streets and even urinating at the flagpole of the Selangor mentri besar’s residence,” he said.
He added that if he had done what he had been accused of, he would have been charged and prosecuted for causing the riots.
“I also would not have called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the riots to ascertain the causes and identity the culprits, 44 years later.
“I also would never have written a letter to the Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman from the Muar Detention Centre on August 5, 1969, expressing my ‘anxieties for the future of Malaysia’ and making a three-point proposal for the forging of national unity in the wake of the May 13 riots,” he added. – September 9, 2013.