CENBET: FFM not for Malay films only


KUALA LUMPUR: Restricting top honours in the Malaysian Film Festival (FFM) to Malay language films is grossly unfair, said the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (CENBET) in a statement.

As the awards suggest, FFM is held for Malaysian films, not only for films in the Malay language, it added.

The NGO urged Finas, a major stakeholder in FFM, to relook at its current practices. “It should keep up with international trends and benchmarks and review processes.”

Further, said the statement, Finas has abdicated its duties by allowing damaging practices at a major event. “This smacks of poor governance.”

Winners of the FFM awards should be judged solely by their creative, artistic and technical strength, argued the NGO. “No production should be denied honours on account of the language or dialects they were made in.”

Rightfully, said CENBET, artistic productions with multicultural themes should be a natural choice, given Malaysia’s demography. In fact, it said, it makes commercial sense to produce films for a larger market.

Beyond business, continued the statement, movies with multi-cultural themes allow viewers to understand each other better. “This can help rid prejudice that stems from ignorance and distrust.”

“Such films help promote moderation and curb the rise of extremism.”

CENBET was commenting on FFM’s decision to deny the best picture award for renowned local films, for having inadequate Bahasa Melayu content. “This is a typical example of how a public administrator’s overzealousness can be counterproductive.”

The statement said segregation runs counter to the two fundamental ideals that CENBET promotes i.e. moderation and good governance. “The non-inclusive and dogmatic thinking behind segregation will only add to the fissures.”

“These are already tearing at the moderation that has been the cornerstone of this country.”