Monday, 30 July 2012

Utusan wants May 13 film released as planned

Utusan Malaysia has urged the National Film Development Board (Finas) to release Shuhaimi Baba's film Tanda Putera as scheduled on September 13.

In a column by Utusan assistant editor Ku Seman Ku Hussain inMingguan Malaysia - the newspaper's Sunday edition - the author wrote that the postponement by Finas did not make sense.

According to Finas, the release of the film has been postponed to a date yet to be fixed in order to allow more time for promotional activities.

NONEKu Seman argued that the film is being shelved for political reasons and should not be victimised.

"Many people see the vague postponement as an attempt to placate certain people in the run up to the general election.

"The normal practice is that once a film is approved by the Film Censorship Board and the Compulsory Screening Scheme committee, no one can stop a film from being screened.

"But what has happened to toTanda Putera is extraordinary. Why?" asked Ku Seman.

Finas-backed Tanda Putera is Shuhaimi's take on the roles of second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein (above) and his then second deputy Ismail Abdul Rahman in nation building efforts post-1969.

But some vocal netizens have expressed disgust at a scene from the trailer which depicts a Chinese mob chanting anti-Malay slogans in the prelude towards the May 13 riots.

DAP blamed

Although the DAP has yet to make an official stand on the movie - because chances are they have yet to view it - Ku Seman reckoned that the party was behind the series of attacks on the movie.

The author - who watched the movie three times - said nothing about the film is fake and it has been historically documented that DAP supporters had chanted anti-Malay slogans.

"Everyone knows that DAP were the first to fan the flames of racism among the Chinese at the time.

"The history of May 13 is not oral history. It was recorded on print, audio and film. These sources show that DAP is responsible for fanning racial fires," he said.

The author argued that the film is not an attempt to revise the history of the May 13 riots, but it is an attempt to provide colour to the contributions of the two main characters.

"Shuhaimi is not a revisionist with bad intentions to tar the role of DAP. That is why, the film also depicts Malays beating the Chinese.

"In terms of composition, this is a responsibility in order to have a balanced view to cool down racial sentiments," he said.

He said the film producers could have done without the scene, but did not do so because they were "not as racist as DAP".

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