Mei Fun: Call it Malay Film Festival then

Chew-Mei-Fun-1

PETALING JAYA: MCA Vice-President Chew Mei Fun today argued that Malaysia’s diversity, rather than Bahasa Malaysia, should be the “core consideration” when nominating movies for “Film Festival Malaysia”.

“Or else it should be known as the ‘Malay Film Festival’,” she said in a statement today.

The deputy women, family and community development minister was commenting on the furore over the language segregation of films taking part in the festival.

This resulted in the likes of popular movies like “Ola Bola” and “Jagat” being disqualified from winning in the best film category.

The two films were not nominated for “best film” as their dialogues were not fully in Bahasa Malaysia. They were nominated for “Best Non-Bahasa Malaysia Film” instead.

The Malaysian Film Producers Association has since clarified that a movie could only be nominated in the best film category if 70% of its dialogue was in Bahasa Malaysia.

The segregation of the film categories drew the ire of many. Actor and filmmaker Afdlin Shauki announced on Facebook that he would be boycotting this year’s festival.

It also saw award-winning cinematographer Mohd Noor Kassim returning two Malaysian Film Festival Awards trophies to the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas).

Chew argued that as the nation had a multiracial make-up, any films shot or produced by Malaysians must not be disregarded as they contained a “distinctive Malaysian culture”.

“Therefore, FFM’s mistake should be rectified.”

Chew urged the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to ask the Malaysian Film Producers Association to amend the relevant rules and regulations so that they were in line with the 1Malaysia concept, espoused by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

“Such diversity is not found elsewhere. It is unique to us and to our advantage.

“As such, by opening up for films of other languages, PFM could play its part in helping to showcase Malaysia’s diversity.”