Tanda Putera fails to honour Tun Razak

by Zairil Khir Johari
5 September 2013

I am disappointed in Tanda Putera’s failure to honour Tun Razak’s achievements.

According to the Malaysiakini articled titled “Zam: DAP irate as its logo stands out in Tanda Putera” dated 4 September 2013, former minister of information Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin is quoted as saying that the DAP is against the film because the party’s logo is prominently displayed in the film’s controversial May 13, 1969 racial riot scene.

I would like to state that I have seen the film, and having done so, I admit that I am sorely disappointed. However, my dissatisfaction against the film stems not so much from the fact that the DAP was constantly maligned (indeed, our logo appeared to be omnipresent in most of the racial riot scenes, although there was no direct reference linking the party to the riots). This is because I had expected nothing less than a perversion of reality, as how the DAP has been constantly victimised and misrepresented in recent times, most notably over the CEC election.

I was also not surprised by the grossly unfair and one-sided portrayal of the Chinese as the main instigators of the racial riots. That too was expected, considering the film was fully funded by a RM4.8 million grant from FINAS (National Film Development Corporation) and MDEC (Multimedia Development Corporation). After all, race-baiting and provocation is everyday fare for the BN-controlled mainstream media.

However, what most surprised me, and disappointed me at the same time, was the fact that despite the record sum of money invested, the film failed miserably in its main objective – to honour and glorify the true achievements of the late Tun Abdul Razak.

Tun Razak, our second prime minister, is also known as Bapa Pembangunan (Father of Development), a sobriquet that reflects his efforts in championing extensive land reforms undertaken in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Under his stewardship, the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) and Urban Development Authority (UDA) were birthed, which ultimately led to rapid rural development and mass urbanisation of the Malays. Through FELDA, rural Malays were resettled into newly developed areas and granted land with which they could engage in modern agriculture. UDA, on the other hand, was tasked to oversee the urban migration of Malays.

As a result of these initiatives, millions of Malays were lifted out of poverty, while education and economic opportunities became accessible to the rural Malays. Consequently a thriving Malay middle class now exists today. That, above all, was Tun Razak’s greatest contribution to the country.

Unfortunately, anyone who watches the movie will be unable to appreciate any of those efforts. Instead, the viewer will merely learn that were it not for Tun Razak, Malaysia Airlines would today be known as MAL instead of MAS.

The gross abuse of millions of public funds for self-aggrandising propaganda notwithstanding, I believe the greatest tragedy of this film is its failure to contribute anything positive about one of our nation’s great leaders.

  1. #1 by on cheng on Thursday, 5 September 2013 - 3:15 pm

    why not try to show this film internationally, let the outside world comment ?? use other languages to suit outside Malaysia audience

  2. #2 by Loh on Thursday, 5 September 2013 - 3:32 pm

    ///Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin outlines ‘non-negotiable’ points in TPPA, including that bumiputera entrepreneurs and GLCs mustn’t be placed at a disadvantage.///–Malaysiakini

    TPPA is a international agreement, and the issue is whether that agreement is fair to participating countries. Obviously, if the rule is not fair to a country, it is not fair to all the citizens of that country. When only a segment of the people is placed at a disadvantage, then it means only that the unfair advantage which exists is no longer available, since the international law cannot separate the population in any country.

    The issue before the nation is whether TPPA is beneficial to the country as a whole. If it is not, then why bother to get in. If it is, then it makes no sense to exclude some items from discussion and offer others which would be disadvantages to all the people in the country.

    Bumiputra entrepreneurs are only meaningful to the country if they bring benefit to the people. If they cannot compete with the rest of the world, it just means that they are not able to provide goods and services at a competitive price, why should the country bother to keep them in business. Indeed, if the entrepreneurs are only interested to earn a living, it might be better for them to rely on BR1M, so that consumers in the country would have a chance to get better goods and services at competitive price. Of course bumiputra entrepreneurs cannot get rich depending on BR1M. But who says that NEP is to make bumiputras rich without working for it. NEP wants bumiputras to be real entrepreneurs. If after 41 years the government cannot produce entrepreneurs who are able to help their sons and daughters to be successful then the idea of producing entrepreneurs based on race is clearly a wrong proposition.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 5 September 2013 - 7:02 pm

    Seriously when the producer resort to threatening the theatres for not showing Tanda Putera, you know all they care about is not the facts but rather the fear that people learn the real facts.

  4. #4 by Cinapek on Thursday, 5 September 2013 - 11:39 pm

    Honouring Tun Razak and Tun Dr Ismail in Tanda Putera was just an excuse for FINAS to fund the film. Right from the word go, the real reason was to demonise DAP ahead of the GE13. Its evil intent was so overpowering that it dominated all the efforts to produce the movie. The minds of the people involved in making the movie was driven by one thought and one thought only and that is how to make DAP and the Chinese look bad for the upcoming election. Making a good movie or having a good storyline to cement the legacy of Tun Razak and Tun Dr Ismail was secondary.

  5. #5 by M. Vivekananda on Friday, 6 September 2013 - 12:45 am

    Consequent to keeping track of the news reports in the mainstream and online media, makes one ask why was the government so obsessed to the point of being paranoid for the general public to watch this movie?

    It is rather strange that public funds from the taxpayers’ money has been used by the government for the production of propaganda material for a political party. This is clearly financial mismanagement. The PM and Finance Minister, Najib should be held accountable.

    An appropriate lead organisation should undertake to send a copy of the CD of the movie to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK for an external independent and unbiased review of the film after carrying out the dubbing (translation) to English, if necessary.

  6. #6 by Winston on Friday, 6 September 2013 - 11:58 am

    Tanda Putera = Tandas Putera

  7. #7 by bryanbb on Saturday, 7 September 2013 - 10:45 pm

    can a party logo be used in a movie without permission? esp the DAP logo in the tanda putera movie., DAP should ask for compensation or take legal action that the movie used the Logo without clearance from existing organisation.

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