Saturday 18 August 2012

Kit Siang initiates legal action over May 13 film

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has instructed his lawyers to initiate legal proceedings over defamation against him in the official Facebook page of the May 13 riots film Tanda Putera.

His decision comes as a response to the “outrageous” response from the film’s executive producer Aida Fitra Buyong in a news website today.

NONE“The accusation by Aida Fitra Buyong ... that I was being ‘defensive’ over the publication of my photograph on the May 13 film’s official Facebook page alleging that I had urinated at the flagpole bearing the Selangor flag at the then Selangor Mentri Besar’s residence, provoking the May 13, 1969 riots, is most scandalous, outrageous and offensive.

“Do the creators of the May 13 film expect me to keep silent while they concoct lies about the May 13, 1969 riots,” said Lim in a statement this afternoon.

Lim said the posting had defamed him by attributing his alleged act of urinating at the Selangor mentri besar’s residence as having provoked the infamous riots, adding “I was never in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969".

He also slammed Aida’s excuse for the Facebook fiasco that they had simply gleaned the photograph and caption from the Internet, as he was unaware that  “such a caption which is based on a wild and reckless lie had ever been posted anywhere on cyberspace”.

“In view of the reckless accusation by Tanda Putera’s executive producer, compounding the earlier defamation against me on the film’s official Facebook page, I am instructing my lawyers to institute legal proceedings relating to the defamation,” he added.

'Director's explanation not credible’

In a statement released last night, Lim slammed the film's director for failing to satisfactorily explain the offensive Facebook entry.

“I am supposed to be assured by the clarification of the director of the May 13 film, Tanda Putera, Shuhaimi Baba that I am not even featured in the footage of the film, but I am not.

NONE"... It is most deplorable and reprehensible that Shuhaimi had taken almost four long weeks since the first publication by Malaysiakini of its report," Lim said.

He was responding to Shuhaimi's statement on Wednesday that the creators of the film would not apologise to as Lim is not featured in the film.

Lim pointed out that the film's creators have failed to explain why the DAP leader was featured in the film’s official Facebook page promoting the film.

In the said page, the caption also read, "The events and incidents listed here really took place in our nation’s history and is contained in the film Tanda Putera.”

“Shuhaimi’s explanation that the creators of the film had received many photographs from netizens that were shared on the film’s Facebook page, including the offending picture, and that it was removed from the Facebook page after complaints were received on it, is neither credible nor acceptable.

“This is because the defamatory and baseless allegation ... was made by the Tanda Putera official Facebook page itself, and not a ‘shared information’ from netizens – conveying  the very clear impression that it was abstracted from the film proper itself,” Lim added.

NONEHe threatened to take legal action against this, "unless there is satisfactory and adequate explanation or accounting for the defamatory reference”.

Lim also questioned the claim by Shuhaimi (left) that the film was the result of the team’s interpretation of historical events, based on intensive research.

"Did the White Paper issued by the National Operations Council (NOC) on Oct 9, 1969, or the book by Tunku Abdul Rahman ‘May 13 – Before and After’ or interviews with Hanif, who was the Special Branch officer attached to the NOC, or Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was then the secretary of NOC, produce any information on my urination at the Selangor menteri besar’s house or any such urination incident by anyone, for that matter?" he asked.

‘Historically accurate, not’

Lim further criticised claims about the film’s historical accuracy, saying that the trailer itself had already shown errors.

"I have not seen the film Tanda Putera, but from the trailer, legitimate questions have been raised as to whether the film can lay claim to being 'historically accurate' with reference to the May 13 riots.

may 13 forum 140507 kua kia soong"For instance, there was a scene of a procession of participants carrying posters bearing Mao Zedong’s picture. Is this historically accurate when in 1969 it was an offence even to possess Mao’s books, let alone carrying Mao’s photograph poster?" Lim asked.

Shuhaimi said her references for the film included consulting representatives from both Razak’s and Ismail's families, National Operations Council reports, and Suaram director Kua Kia Soong's (above) book ,'May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969'.

Lim also slammed Shuhaimi for making light of the matter, on the excuse that the May 13 riot scene only takes up 10 minutes of the 115-minute film.

"She should know that any unfair and tendentious portrayal of the May 13 riots in these 10 minutes is not only capable of overshadowing the rest of the 105 minutes of the film, but will have the disastrous effect of dividing, instead of uniting, Malaysians," he said.

Tanda Putera
is a collaboration between film company Persona Pictures and the National Film Development Corporation (Finas). It is rated PG13 and is scheduled for release on Nov 15.

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