No definition for ‘Malaysian’ movie, says Jagat director


KUALALUMPUR: Shanjhey Kumar Perumal, the director of the critically-acclaimed Malaysian Tamil movie Jagat, has asked the Malaysian Film Producers Association (PFM) for clarification regarding the ruling that local films that qualify for the main Best Film category must have 70 per cent Bahasa Malaysia dialogue.

“From our research, we found that Akta Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia 1981 (Act 244) does not touch on the usage of the national language in the making of a film.

“In fact, there’s no definition of what truly constitutes a national movie, or a Malaysian movie,” he said in a press statement.

When contacted by the media, according to a report in The Star, Malaysia Film Festival (FFM) judging committee chairman Nancie Foo said local films had to include 70 per cent dialogue in Bahasa Malaysia.

However, she said she did not know when this ruling was enforced.

A decision by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) and PFM to create special categories for Bahasa Malaysia and non-Bahasa Malaysia films for the upcoming Malaysia Film Festival (FFM28) has irked many.

It was announced that Jagat will not be competing for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director at the film festival.

Instead, it will compete in the non-Bahasa Malaysia categories, said the report.

Shanjhey said there was no rule stipulating the usage of the national language in films in the nomination form for FFM28.

In the statement, he thanked actor Afdlin Shauki and cinematographer Mohd Noor Kassim for saying they would boycott FFM28 over this issue.

However, Shanjhey will not boycott the function. The Star quoted him as saying: “Just like our peers, we want to work towards the same goal. But we will do it via a different strategy. We believe this issue can be solved or improved upon through a dialogue session with the parties involved with this film festival.”