Fit for Golden Raspberry Award

Mariam Mokhtar
Sep 2, 2013

What happened on May 13, 1969 was terrible, not just for every Malaysian, but also for the armed forces and the police. If the country is to move on and start the healing process, then the May 13 demons must be exorcised, once and for all; but first, the truth must be freed.

The National Operations Council (NOC) which was created in the aftermath of the disturbances by Najib Abdul Razak’s father, sought to return the country to normality, by restoring law and order, as well as re-establishing trust between the races. Its scope was limited and it did not seek to provide a definitive account of the tragedy.

If Najib is sincere in wanting reconciliation, one of the first things he should do is to hold an inquiry into the May 13 riots. Investigators will be hampered by Umno Baru’s unwritten rule, which is that anyone who disagrees with them is either Chinese or communist.

Sceptical Malaysians will accuse Umno Baru of refusing to learn or discover the root causes of the May 13 riots. Critics will worry about the cost and length of time for this inquiry. Many witnesses, victims, politicians, armed forces personnel, hospital staff or news correspondents, will have died. Memories of those who remain will have dulled with age.

Who will lead this inquiry? What will be the scope of this probe? Should the taxpayer be burdened with the cost? How will the government view the findings? Will families of the victims be given compensation or will an apology suffice? Will those who killed, in the line of duty, be prosecuted? Perhaps, the greatest fear is that this investigation will be another whitewash, just like previous inquiries.

The latest reviews on the mockumentary, ‘Tanda Putera’, which were garnered from the Internet, describe a badly produced film, littered with howlers.

If the film-producer, Shuhaimi Baba had done her homework properly, she would have discovered that there were many anachronisms, like CCTV and Proton cars.

Assuming the role of producer-cum-cinema-enforcer, Shuhaimi declared war on the cinemas which refused to screen her films and threatened them with closure. Was she not embarrassed that despite the hype around her film, each viewing attracted only a handful of patrons?

Most films become box-office hits when the threat of a ban generates massive free publicity.

In Shuhaimi’s case, ‘Tanda Putera’ bombed. It deserves the Golden Raspberry Award in recognition for all that is bad in film making.

Shuhaimi was under pressure to produce a propaganda film and the compulsory viewing suggests that Umno Baru is desperate. The first to view her film, despite a cabinet ban, was a group of university students and Felda settlers – an unwitting captive audience.

Khairy also practising double-standards?

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin urged that ‘Tanda Putera’ be screened outdoors, for public viewing, when Lim Guan Eng announced that the films need not be shown in Penang.

Khairy complained about double-standards and the chief minister’s lip-service to freedom of speech.

Isn’t Khairy also practising double-standards? Did he support the film, ‘The New Village’, and did he know that Malaysiakini was barred from the premiere of ‘Tanda Putera’?

MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek supported Khairy’s suggestion. Chua’s agreement smacks of political expediency, but Chua’s assessment of the scenes which depict the Chinese as aggressors would be more interesting.

Guan Eng did not ban cinemas from showing the film in Penang, he merely said that they need not show it. Conversely, Communications Minister Shabery Cheek and the film’s producer said that the licences of cinemas which did not screen the film would be withdrawn.

Shabery also called the DAP stupid and said that if DAP were to rule Malaysia, “art would not be allowed to grow, as the party was full of revenge and irrational sentiments”.

He conveniently forgot the recent furore about a Malaysian artist’s painting called ‘I is for Idiot’.

Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, the Culture and Tourism Minister, praised Shuhaimi for a well-researched film, before proceeding to blame the Chinese for starting the May 13 riots.

Is he unaware that Shuhaimi was economical with the truth?

Last year, critics slammed Shuhaimi for “historical inaccuracies” and she was forced to clarify that the scene of Lim Kit Siang urinating on a flagpole, was fictitious.

She may have claimed that the film described the relationship between Abdul Razak Hussein and his deputy Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, but she is wrong to state that these, “two men who gave up everything, including their lives for the country”.

These two men died in office. They may have dedicated their life’s work to the country, but they did not die for the country. Her remarks have insulted the memories of the people who died defending their country, against armed insurgents.

Shuhaimi’s reputation is damaged, and her film has bombed. Even if she were to screen the film for free, it is unlikely that people would come, especially after the many negative reviews. Cinemagoers have been warned.

Shuhaimi could learn from her masters, Umno Baru. Their ceramahs have low rates of attendance unless they provide pocket money, food and gifts. Shuhaimi might get higher attendances if she were to give food and money to everyone who sat through all 117 minutes of the film.

Umno Baru is reluctant to let the ghosts of May 13 rest because they are needed to perpetuate the myth that only Umno Baru can “save” the Malays. These ghosts help prolong the fears and insecurities, particularly at election time.

If Umno Baru can’t maintain the spectre of May 13, it will become irrelevant and redundant to the Malays, because there will be no “enemy” to defend against.

Umno Baru knows that Malaysians do not read, much. Many would rather watch a film than read about the May 13 incident.

Shuhaimi has been economical with the truth when making her mockumentary. It is widely believed that May 13 arose from a power struggle within Umno. The failure to quell the riots quickly also contributed to the large loss of life.

The people of Malaysia bear the mental and physical scars of May 13. A responsible government would allow its citizens to bury the ghosts of one of the most bloody episodes in their modern history.

The shadow cast by May 13 blights every Malaysian who wishes to get on with his life. If our leaders refuse this request, then it is our right to demand an exorcism.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).

  1. #1 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 8:55 am


    Hoi, ros mana bomoh? Boleh pinjam guna?

    WTF. Ros tu tak nak pinjam. Celaka betul orang tu.

    So you see. It is little wonder why the ghost of may 13 continues to hound the country.

    But no worries. Soon the ghost will become irrelevant and it will then turn antiquated and finally vanish altogether. Younger malaysians have only a slight knowledge of that incident. In any case they are more interested in celebrities and x-factors than a certain histority event. And of course, lets not forget that umno is actively diluting the malays in the country will new imports from the philippines and indonesia etc. To these new imports, i.e. bumiputra-baru, may 13 is a “apa-benda-tu”.

    But of course, who could wait for that day to come. Best to get rid of the ghost as quickly as possible. Sooner, the better.

  2. #2 by pulau_sibu on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 10:53 am

    Has any one started to do real research on May 13? Let the creditable top-ranking world universities do it with peer reviewed publications. Forget about millions spent by the government on director without credential (perhaps only in boleh kampung).

    • #3 by Di Shi Jiu on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 11:44 am


      Without access to official Government records, eg hospital, police, army, etc, I suspect it would be quite difficult to construct a good picture of the “May 13 Incident” (as Wikipedia calls it).

      Much of the information thus far have been from anecdotal sources.

      For example, I have noticed some commentators here on LKS’s blog who have described their personal experiences and offered eyewitness accounts. These are valuable insights despite the lack of other substantiating evidence like photographs, physical scars, or other memorabilia.

      Perhaps, your wish will come true one day, when an impartial researcher will sift thru the huge amount of information and give Malaysians a better picture of what really happened.

      • #4 by Bunch of Suckers on Thursday, 5 September 2013 - 2:14 pm


        Your uncle have something for you to read and to educate you… The same place with new post #…

  3. #5 by Godfather on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 11:36 am

    Cukup lah….give it a rest. No need to give a mediocre film any more publicity than it deserves. You can tell the general public is tired of all this. If they think it is a well-researched film, let them think so. If they want to pride themselves on mediocrity, let them.

    • #6 by Di Shi Jiu on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 11:48 am


      Movie/Film ?

      What movie/film were you referring to?


      • #7 by Bunch of Suckers on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 11:12 pm


        At #16 of Travesty of truth and distortion of history for Nazri to claim that Tanda Putera is well-researched movie and May 13, 1969 riots was caused by Chinese

  4. #8 by tuahpekkong on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 12:51 pm

    Only UMNO’s version of the May 13 incident is considered the Gospel truth and you must not object. Those who disagree with UMNO are not good citizens of the country and they can leave if they want to. Since Tandas Putera is a “well researched” movie, who knows in future school students may be taught UMNO’s version of the May 13 incident.

  5. #9 by undertaker888 on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 2:29 pm

    It was a very well-researched film and the truth too. But the truth is smoke detectors were not mass produced yet in 1969.

  6. #10 by 1elderly voter on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 4:48 pm


  7. #11 by rockdaboat on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 9:07 pm

    Trash produces trash!!!!!

  8. #12 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 10:18 pm

    Rotten Banana Award.

  9. #13 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 10:29 pm

    If she retitle the film ‘Tanda Pontianak’ or something like that, maybe the attendance might be better.

    Maybe a 40 sen Cheap Matinee show with free syrup on Saturday mornings?

  10. #14 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 - 10:30 pm

    Buy 1 Free 2 ?

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