Onus is on UMNO Youth and Utusan Malaysia to substantiate their allegation that “The New Village” glorified the MCP and demonised the police and soldiers

In today’s Malaysiakini report “Unfair to ban ‘New Village’ on trailer alone, says Shabery”, the Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said he was not surprised that the film had drawn protests from UMNO Youth and party-owned Utusan Malaysia as I too “over-reacted” to another controversial “Tanda Putera” film after the screening of its trailer.

He said it is unfair to judge ‘The New Village’ based on its trailer release along and said a “rational” decision must now be made on its fate.

I invite Shabery to specify how I had “over-reacted” to “Tanda Putera” after the screening of its trailer, as I had never seen the trailer of “Tanda Putera”.

My first statement on Tanda Putera is available on my blog, dated 4th August 2012, as follows:

Tanda Putera’s “urination” episode – downright lie and dangerous falsehood

Despite his 1Malaysia signature slogan, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is continuing to allow his UMNO/Barisan Nasional election campaign machineries to disseminate downright lies and dangerous falsehoods calculated to incite racial hatred and undermine national unity with the approach of the 55th National Day and 49th Malaysia Day celebrations.

One of these “downright lies and dangerous falsehoods” flooding the UMNO/BN social media and exploited by the 10,000 UMNO/BN cybertroopers is that I had caused the May 13 riots in 1969 through shouting the most racist slogans in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969.

Despite my firm denial of these wild and reckless allegations in my speech in Parliament on March 22, 2012, declaring that I was never in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969, these “downright lies and dangerous falsehoods” have continued to make their rounds in leaps and bounds in the cyberspace.

On 20th July 2012, Malaysiakini carried the following report “New May 13 movie courts controversy”:

New May 13 movie courts controversy

Tanda Putera, the latest offering from local director Shuhaimi Baba, has received flak over what some say is a skewed re-telling of what happened during the 1969 race riots.

A few film critics have accused the RM4.8 million movie of demonising early leftist movements and more hero-worship than tribute to former premier Abdul Razak Hussein, who is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s father.

The trailer for the movie – fully funded by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and the Multimedia Development Corporation (Mdec) – showed scenes of Chinese mobs marching through the streets of Kuala Lumpur after the success of the opposition parties in municipal elections.

One group was depicted bearing the Labour Party flag, while that scene and others also showed Chinese Malaysians bearing banners proclaiming anti-Malay slogans.

The banners written in Chinese characters depicted slogans that translated into ‘Malays go back to the village’, ‘Malays go die’ and ‘Take revenge’.

Garnering more serious brickbats are snippets from the movie’s official Facebook page which detailed scenes apparently slated to be included in the final cut of the movie.

One apparent scene was that of DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang purportedly urinating on a flagpole in front of the then-Selangor menteri besar’s residence.

“Lim Kit Siang telah kencing di bawah tiang bendera Selangor yang terpacak di rumah menteri besar Selangor ketika itu, Harun Idris, (Lim Kit Siang had urinated at the foot of the flagpole bearing the Selangor flag at the then Selangor MB’s Harun Idris’ house)” read the caption of a photo of the actor portraying Lim being manhandled.

The photo was posted in the album titled ‘Peristiwa-peristiwa yang dimuatkan di dalam filem ini’ (Events depicted in this movie).

However, the photo and caption has since been removed from the movie’s official page, though Malaysiakini had captured a screenshot of the earlier posting.

Those in the industry who have watched the movie in a special preview on Wednesday to focus groups also said that no urinating scene was included in the preview cut.

There was also no mention of the scene in the movie’s script, a copy of which was obtained by Malaysiakini.

Lim had vehemently denied that the DAP was involved in instigating the race riots of 1969, and had said that he was not in Kuala Lumpur on May 13 when the initial violence took place.

Director: Better for people to watch it first

When contacted, Tanda Putera’s director refused comment on the matter, arguing that the movie should be screened to the public first before it can be reviewed.

“I am loath to answer that question as people have not watched the film yet. It is better for them to have watched it first,” said Shuhaimi.

Scheduled for release two months from now on Sept 13, Finas has however had put off the release of the movie until a later date, yet to be announced.

While earlier it was reported that the postponement was because of the impending general election, Finas later clarified that it was because they wanted to prolong promotional activities.

Some netizens has also attacked the movie’s storyline for apparently being an attempt at brown-nosing to the powers-that-be and a propaganda piece to drum up support for the ruling coalition.

The movie has been screened to focus groups since last week, gaining brickbats from some and praise from others such as Umno-linked blogger Papagomo, who posted a glowing review of the movie after watching it with fellow bloggers.

“We who have watched the movie shed tears several times and truly I feel that the film shall touch the hearts of not only the Malays about May 13, but also all races in Malaysia,” wrote the blogger in a posting.

Shuhaimi told the media that the movie focused on what she claimed is a special relationship between Razak and his then deputy Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, both aristocrats who sacrificed a lot to work together to save Malaysia from radicals and communists.

Hence, she said, that was the message behind the title of the movie, Tanda Putera, or signs of the greatness of princes or the legacy of princes.

Speaking to the media, Shuhaimi has defended her depiction of the scenes as being from the official version of history and from interviews with personalities who were present then.

I was in Sabah on July 20 on a three-day visit with DAP MP for Segambut Lim Lip Eng. On the very same night at the DAP Inaman Sepanggar ceramah, I referred to the Malaysiakini report on the May 13 film and denied in the strongest possible terms that I had “urinated at the foot of the flagpole bearing the Selangor flag at the then Selangor MB’s Harun Idris’ house” as earlier claimed by the movie earlier Facebook page, and sparking the May 13 riots as I was simply not in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13 of 1969!

Even the photograph that was used in the movie’s earlier Facebook page was not a photograph taken in 1969 but was from a different incident in Sabah 15 years later in 1984!

In the past fortnight, the legion of UMNO/BN cybertroopers have escalated their campaign of downright lies and dangerous falsehoods based on the movie’s “urination” episode to incite racial hatred and undermine national unity – completely oblivious that this is the month when all Malaysians should make a special effort to come together as Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region to emphasise and underline their common identity as Malaysians.

The spokepersons of the movie have said that the film was based on a lot of research, such as studying documented materials and photographs, to make sure the scenes were backed by historical facts.
Where were the documented materials and photographs that I had urinated “at the foot of the flagpole…at the Selangor MB Harun Idris’ house” on May 11, 12 or 13, 1969 when I was never in Kuala Lumpur? For that matter, where are the documented materials or photographs to show that there was such an incident and that it was not a mere figment of the imagination?

The White Paper issued by the National Operations Council in 9th October 1969 entitled “The May 13 Tragedy” made no reference to any such urination incident.

If the movie Tanda Putraja gives a biased and unbalanced account of the May 13 tragedy in 1969, it will be the cause of grave national misunderstanding and discord on the occasion of the 55th National Day/49th Malaysia Day, making a total mockery of the 1Malaysia objective to build a united Malaysian nation!

Can Shabery point out how I had “over-reacted” to the film ‘Tanda Putera’?

In the case of ‘The New Village’, I have not seen the film but UMNO Youth and Utusan Malaysia’s allegation that it “glorified” the Malayan Communist Party as heroes and put the Malay Army Regiment, the police and British soldiers as “enemies and bad people”, is not substantiated by the trailer of the ‘The New Village”.

The onus is therefore on the UMNO Youth and Utusan Malaysia to substantiate their allegation that “The New Village” glorified the MCP and demonised the police and soldiers at the time.

  1. #1 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 8:06 pm

    One day shall come when the government should apologise to the people who were relocated to the new villages. During the second world war, Americans of Japanese decent were relocated. In 1988, President Reagan signed a law to officially apologise and compensate to this group of Americans. We should also learn how to become a civilised nation.

    For Japanese American organizations and civil rights institutions across the country, 2008 is a very important year because it marks the twentieth anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 10, 1988, this legislation provided an apology and compensation to the thousands of Japanese Americans whose constitutional rights were violated during their World War II forced exclusion and mass incarceration.

    Between 1942 and 1945, thousands of Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes on the West Coast and parts of Hawai‘i and approximately 120,000 were detained in concentration camps or Department of Justice camps built in some the country’s harshest, most undesirable landscapes. This was a deeply traumatic experience for the Japanese American community. Some communities had as little as 48 hours notice to prepare for their removal, causing many Japanese American families to suffer enormous monetary losses by having to abandon or sell businesses, homes, and belongings at far below market value. Other families carried deep emotional scars from the shame of being marked as disloyal, from the upheavals of exclusion and incarceration, and from the pressures of having to rebuild their lives after the end of World War II.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 8:10 pm

    UMNO Youth and Utusan Malaysia’s action is a tit-for-tat retaliation against Kit’s “overreacted” comment on Tanda Putera.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 8:16 pm

    Who are we kidding its is about communism. Its simply about whether the Chinese has a blood-stake in this country and several side implications of that fact. At the heart of the matter it damages the core UMNO, particularly UMNO Youth’s cause at least making partly myth – frightening prospect.

    The trailer was loaded up two months ago and not much was spoken until UMNO Youth realizes what it meant having being preoccupied with more urgent self-interest before. The irony is that they more rhetoric they pour, the more people realize the extend of UMNO Youth’s weak foundation of their cause keep going back to the well of myths and lies they created over the years.

    What is the real issue is that UMNO Youth cannot seem to get through their heads that its not true that if they keep telling lies that it become the truth – that it was never true for them and with today’s technology, it will never ever be the same again. What is the real issue is, just when its needed most, UMNO Youth keep falling back on old addictions and old crutches that are falling apart for certain .What is the real issue is that they can’t move forward from the old ways that are crumbling..

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 8:39 pm

    What is more important to ask of the remaining supporters of UMNO/BN to ask the family Hussain Ahmad Najadi, founder of Arab-Malaysian Bank whether what the Chinese fight for, clean govt, less crime got nothing to do with them?

  5. #5 by bryanbb on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 9:52 pm

    can anyone remember that the father of modern Malaysia “”Tun Razak” actually made a state visit to communist China in the 70s and was warmly welcomed by all the leaders and feted by the communist, and even shook hands with Chairman Mao, and was celebrated by all Malaysians when he came back, a moment that united all the races. No one accused him of glorifying communism then but hailed it as a historical moment for the nation. Think his son Najib needs his China moment also.

  6. #6 by good coolie on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 9:58 pm

    The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. I hate the Japanese who ruled Malaya during the war. Even though the Communists were the enemy of the Japanese, the Communists are not my friends. I take this opportunity to curse the Communist Party of Malaya. These beasts were not the people who won the war for us against the Japanese; America did it. Long live the Americans!

    Anything that even smells of praise of Communists or sympathy for them is odious.

  7. #7 by negarawan on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 10:15 pm

    UMNO is trying to distract the rakyat from the shocking level of violent crime taking place in the country, where gun killings are heard almost everyday, with all these UMNO sideshows. The PDRM and the Home Minister are showing themselves to be utterly useless and incapable!

  8. #8 by Di Shi Jiu on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 10:51 pm

    Ah, the old Communist bogeyman in the movie trick, as Maxwell Smart would have said.

    I do wonder if UMNO Youth and Utusan have realised that the Internet contains more radical Communist material than any movie, made in Malaysia, could ever portray?

  9. #9 by sheriff singh on Monday, 29 July 2013 - 11:27 pm

    In 1Malaysia, it is the other way around. You are deemed guilty and will have to prove your innocence.

    The makers of the film will have to prove it is a forbidden love story and has no political, ideological or racial overtones.

    If UMNO, Perkasa or their allies do not like it, you are doomed.

  10. #10 by Noble House on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 3:38 am

    Ladies & Gentlemen!

    Welcome aboard Mana Ada System Airlines. Please fasten your seat belt. I am your chief hostess Ms Ti Bo leh.

    Your Chief Pilot is Captain Oxy Mo Ron
    Your Co-Pilot is Captain Quan Tum Leap
    Your Flight Engineer is Tun MM Lupa

    Your flight to Bolehland will take approximately minus half past six hours. Arrival is not guaranteed. Toilet paper is provided for your reading pleasure and if you feel like puking handy bag is available. Kindly refrain from smoking and eating.

    P.S. If you ever get there you will be greeted by our Misinformed Minister, the one that froths in his mouth. Enjoy your flight, Ladies & Gentlemen!

  11. #11 by pulau_sibu on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 10:02 am

    Japanese Canadian internment refers to confinement of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia during World War II………..In 1988, the Canadian government gave a formal apology and announced the details of compensation to the affected citizens.

  12. #12 by sotong on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 11:14 am

    While the ordinary Chinese and others have moved on to contribute to the country, most Malays politicians have a narrow, outdated and biased view of the ordinary Chinese.

    Except for those Chinese in MCA & Gerakan, they do not know understand the ordinary Chinese.

    They hate the Chinese for various reasons…….but Indon, Bangla, Sulu, Arabs and etc semua OK.

  13. #13 by bangkoklane on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 5:04 pm

    They should have banned Les Miserables as it encouraged revolution. Soon all photos and videos about Bersih will also be banned. New Malaysian words: ban, ban, ban…

  14. #14 by bennylohstocks on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 8:13 pm

  15. #15 by bennylohstocks on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 8:17 pm

  16. #16 by bryanbb on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 - 2:00 am

    New village sheds a bit of light of the hardships the Chinese endured and how they also suffered and brutalized by treatment of others pre independence Malaya. therefore showing them as victims in a sympathetic light. Lately UMNO has been trying so hard to blame everything on the Chinese and attempting to make the Malay community resent/hate them in their quest for Divide N Rule that any thing that may foil the plan or soften Malay mindsets is seen as a threat to their diabolical plan.
    Is this only or really an accusation from UMNO that the movie is about glorifying communism?. Maybe maybe not

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