by Hasbullah Awang Chik
The Malaysian Insider
August 24, 2013
The director of the controversial film Tanda Putera, which has upset the opposition, now admits it is a fictional account of events surrounding the May 13 racial riots.
Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba said her film is an interpretation of historical events derived from multiple opinions.
She explained that after certain parties strongly objected to a scene where a character urinated at a flagpole in front of the house of a former Selangor menteri besar, she edited the scene to tone it down.
“I made some slight edits of the scene. There were words that I removed. That scene was acted out according to those who were present at that time.
“I had to make sure I could fit in most of the opinions collected into a two-hour movie. Of course, not all of the responses we got could be enacted in the film.
“It is tough for me to throw away scenes that are called sensitive. If I have to follow the opinions of everyone then the first 20 minutes of the film depicting incidents of 13 May would not even be there. So I have to defend my work,” she told The Malaysian Insider today.
Suhaimi’s admission that the film is a fictional account of events is a comedown from her stand at the film’s premiere this week where she asked the public to give the film a chance since it is about the nation’s history based on “true stories”.
The film is set to start its run in local cinemas on August 29.
“That incident did happen but no one could identify who was the one who did it,” Shuhaimi said in reference to the urinating scene, which purportedly portrayed a young Lim Kit Siang, now the DAP adviser.
Shuhaimi said the movie showed the friendship between two leaders, then prime minister Tun Abdul Razak and his deputy, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, and how they faced the challenge of developing the country while battling racial tensions and their health problems.
Shuhaimi said she did not feel any scenes in the movie were too radical and described the protests of DAP leaders as a political gimmick.
The director said that it was Kit Siang himself who took offence and felt that the scene depicted him.
On Thursday, The Malaysian Insider reported that DAP had urged Tanda Putera’s producers to declare the film a fictitious work.
DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said the film would provoke anger and racial tension.
Last year, Lim criticised the production company when it uploaded a photograph of him being arrested by the police, with a caption “Lim Kit Siang urinating on the flagpole at the home of Selangor Menteri Besar” on the film’s official Facebook page.
It was later removed after the company received numerous complaints. – August 24, 2013.