Anger over 'New Village' film

MALAYSIA - The nod given by the National Film Development Corporation Malayisa (Finas) for the screening of local film The New Village was highlighted by Awang Selamat in Mingguan Malaysia.

He wrote that Malaysians were too cautious over the screening of the film Tanda Putera to the extent that the movie had been put on hold several times following protests from various groups representing the Chinese community.

However, he said it was ironic for Tanda Putera, which supposedly depicted the historical facts behind the May 13 racial riots, to come under pressure for being "racist" when certain groups had managed to get away with producing The New Village.

The columnist questioned how the film could have been approved by the authorities, particularly in view of the coming Merdeka Day celebration, when it allegedly glorified the exploits of the Malayan People Anti-Japanese Army, which had ties to the Malayan Communist Party.

"Many of our security forces personnel were killed and maimed due to the communists, who are now recognised and glorified as heroes. Why does the producer of the New Village film want to re-write history?" he wrote.

The columnist said he believed that this was part of the effort to recognise the struggle of the communist party and its leaders, especially Chin Peng.

He said that it did not make sense for the film to be screened before Tanda Putera which had long been completed and which, according to him, should be shown as a way to strengthen patriotism and the need to maintain harmony.