Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Penang cinemas told not to screen movie - The Star Online

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has asked all cinema operators in the state not to screen the movie Tanda Putera scheduled for screening today.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has claimed that the movie showed slanderous scenes that could provoke racial hatred.

He added that the state regrets that the Communications and Multimedia Ministry had allowed the screening of the film without removing some scenes.

Lim said that in the movie, a few Chinese youths were shown to be urinating in the compound of the then Selangor Mentri Besar's residence as well as on a Malaysian flag.

"The director herself said those incidents didn't happen, but she included them to make the film more interesting.

"She used the words 'creative licence' but it doesn't give you the licence to lie.

"The film is a threat to the harmony of a multi-racial society," he said at a press conference yesterday.

The film is directed by Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba and the story is about a moment in Malaysian history when second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and the then Home Affairs Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman were in office.

It takes the audience through the events leading up to the May 13 riots in 1969.

"I worry that these scenes might create dangerous sentiments as they did not take place. The staff of the MB's residence had also clarified that it didn't happen," he said.

State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said although the local councils issue licences to all cinemas, they did not have the power over the contents of the films screened.

However, in view of the sensitivity of the film, he said the Penang Municipal Council and Seberang Prai Municipal Council issued letters yesterday to all cinemas and requested them not to screen the film.

However, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Penang's decision was "a reflection of their stupidity" as those who decided the film should be banned had not even watched the show.

Adding that Penang's decision was tantamount to "taking a step backwards" in the industry's growth, Ahmad Shabery said he would study whether Tanda Putera could be banned from Penang cinemas, adding that this was an unprecedented move by any state government.

Ahmad Shabery said banned films were normally those containing pornographic or violent elements, or those that sent a wrong kind of message to viewers, and would be decided by the Film Censorship Board and the Home Ministry.
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