No public screening of film on political exiles: MDA

No public screening of film on political exiles: MDA
Singapore film-maker Tan Pin Pin

SINGAPORE- A documentary film on Singapore's political exiles is not allowed to be screened in public or distributed in the country because the Media Development Authority (MDA) says it distorts the legitimate actions of security agencies as acts that victimise innocent individuals.

The film, To Singapore, With Love, by local film director Tan Pin Pin, was given a "Not Allowed for All Ratings" classification by the MDA yesterday.

But a "purely private" screening is allowed, MDA said later when asked by The Straits Times.

In the 70-minute film, Ms Tan interviewed nine Singaporeans on why they fled the country, what their lives are like now and their feelings towards Singapore.

They live in Britain and Thailand, some of them for more than 50 years.

But, the MDA statement said, the individuals gave untruthful and distorted accounts of how they had to flee and remain outside Singapore. Hence, the film "undermines national security because legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimised innocent individuals".

Ms Tan, 44, said in a Facebook post last night that she was disappointed with the decision.

She had hoped the film would, among other things, open up a "national conversation to allow us to understand ourselves as a nation better".

The documentary was submitted for classification in May by the National University of Singapore Museum. Ms Tan said it was to be screened with two of her other films by the NUS Museum.

The MDA, in its statement, said many in the film were members or supporters of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). "The CPM sought to overthrow the legitimate elected governments of Singapore and Malaysia through armed struggle and subversion, and replace them with a communist regime," it said.

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