Charter 2000-Aliran is deeply concerned that film director Amir Muhammad has once again unjustifiably earned the 'wrath' of the government, particularly the Film Censorship Board, which has banned his latest offering 'Apa Khabar Orang Kampung'.
In a country that is striving to achieve ‘developed nation’ status and in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of independence celebrations, such harsh censorship is not only undemocratic but smacks of political arrogance as well.
It reflects an attitude and approach that is not inclined to appreciate a plurality of views, especially those articulating alternative interpretations of the nation's history. Indeed, the citizens of this country are entitled to a variety of narrations of Malaysian history.
The banning of this movie, like the recent banning of certain books, reveals a certain contempt for the intelligence of thinking Malaysians, who are quite capable of handling various interpretations and readings of our history.
It saddens us to see official attempts to ban ideas that do not coincide with those of the ruling elite. Surely this is not the hallmark of an independent, modern and democratic nation. Now that the Censorship Board’s Appeals Committee is planning to review the movie next week following Amir’s appeal, we hope that good sense and maturity will prevail and that the people’s right to hear different views and interpretations of history will be honoured.
Dr Mustafa K Anuar & Anil Netto
2 March 2007