Monday, May 22, 2006

Rais Finds 'The Last Communist' Film Not Offensive

Now over to you, Internal Security Minister.

This reminds me of the KRUmania concerts ban in 1997. I hope the issue doesn't have to go up to the DPM or (gasp!) PM to be resolved, though. Banyak lagi benda lain diorang nak buat.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 (Bernama) -- The banned musical documentary "The Last Communist" is not offensive, said Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

"The plot isn't controversial and there's nothing that could be deemed as offensive from the cultural viewpoint," he said.

The facts portrayed in the documentary could be read in the book about former Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng sold in book stores, he told reporters after joining Members of Parliament to watch the film at the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) Sunday.

The Internal Security Ministry banned the documentary produced by independent film-maker Amir Muhammad on May 10 days before its screening in cinemas although it had been passed by the Censorship Board.

The ban followed criticisms that the film glorified the cause of the communists and Chin Peng.

The documentary was screened for the MPs at the request of parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang who wanted to see the justification for its ban.

Rais said there was nothing new in the film except for the interviews with the Communist Party of Malaya's former members.

"They were vague, not conclusive for any quarters... that's normal," he said, adding that whether the ban would be lifted was the prerogative of the Internal Security Ministry.

He said his ministry would give its views if it was asked to do so but he hoped the issue would not be blown out of proportion.

Lim said that he could not see anything controversial that could justify the banning of the film.

"When I went in, I was prepared to be outraged. But, hard as I tried, I could not find anything to be outraged about because it does not glorify the Communist Party or Chin Peng, and does not even promote communism.

"It just used the Chin Peng connection to make a documentary about life in the country and a little bit about life at the border. Some scenes such as the charcoal factory (in Taiping), petai boys (in Bidor) are an eye opener for many and highly educational," he said.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar said it was a simple film portraying the life of a group of Malaysians in the 1940s and 1950s.

"It does not even tell a full story on the communist insurgency in the country nor is it a propaganda film," he said, adding that it would not leave a negative impact on the audience.



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