PETALING JAYA: The government should provide students the platform to criticise if it intends to invite students to view films such as the biopic about Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, says a parents’ group.
Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) honorary secretary Tunku Munawirah Putra said scripts from movies like “Anwar: The Untold Story” should be subjected to critical discussions in classrooms given that they are related to politics and history.
“Youths do not necessarily have opinions that are in favour of the current government. They want to be able to sharpen their critical thinking (skills),” she told FMT.
She was responding to reports that Form Six students from SMK Putrajaya Presint 5 were invited to a screening of the biopic at a cinema on Tuesday night.
The invitation was extended by the office of education minister Fadhlina Sidek, who was among those who attended the screening at a mall in Putrajaya.
The school’s Form Six senior assistant, Suziyah Selamat, said students were not forced to attend the screening. She said the film’s content was relevant to the Form Six curriculum as it touches on the issues of corruption and governance.
Netizens and an opposition MP criticised the move to invite students, saying the film was used as a “propaganda tool”.
Indera Mahkota MP Saifuddin Abdullah questioned whether the students were invited because they are of voting age. If so, he said, the film’s screening was a “political campaign”.
Set between 1993 and 1998, the film depicts Anwar’s time as deputy prime minister and finance minister, his opposition to corruption and his imprisonment.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer Anuar Ahmad said screening of political films for school students had been held before, citing such productions as “1957: Hati Malaya”, “Embun” and “Bukit Kepong”.
He said he had no issue with screening programmes being organised for Form Six students as they had their own perspectives on current affairs and were eligible to vote.
Ikatan Guru-Guru Muslim Malaysia (iGuru) said the education minister must clarify the source of funding for the screening programme to avoid any negative perceptions.
“The minister should explain why the students were invited to the screening and where the funding came from,” the president of the Muslim teachers’ group, Azizee Hasan, said.