DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke has urge Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak to intervene in the row involving Festival Filem Malaysia (FFM) 2016 that has erupted following the decision to segregate films according to languages.
“I urge the minister to swiftly instruct National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) to cancel the recently announced nomination process and to redo the process by taking into account several high-quality films like ‘Ola Bola’ and ‘Jagat’ to be nominated in the best film category,” said DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke in a statement today.
The Seremban lawmaker said he had personally contacted Salleh via phone and the minister had promised to look into the matter after his return to Kuala Lumpur from Sabah next Monday.
Loke expressed hope that the minister would take positive steps to rectify the problem and to ensure that the issue of segregation in relation to FFM does not soil the sanctity of the month of August.
August, he said, should be celebrated as a month of national unity with the country’s Independence Day coming up on Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16.
Local films ‘Ola Bola’ and ‘Jagat’ were disqualified from the best film category in the FFM.
The two films were not nominated for 'best film' because the dialogue was not fully in Bahasa Malaysia, and were thus nominated for 'Best Non-Bahasa Melayu Film' instead.
Meanwhile, Loke said films which carry messages of unity and integration like 'Ola Bola' should be encouraged and celebrated as such movies has proven to be an effective approach in encouraging the spirit of togetherness among the country’s various races.
“Malaysians are sick of racial issues raised by racist quarters as seen in the country’s political scene. The film industry, therefore, should not be tainted with racist sentiments,” he added.
The disqualification had riled many and local actor Afdlin Shauki announced that he was boycotting the festival.
Afdlin’s decision to boycott the festival earned the praise of CIMB chairperson Nazir Abdul Razak and AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes.
Both took to their Instagram accounts to weigh in behind the actor's decision to shun this year's installment of the annual local film award ceremony.
Another filmmaker Md Nor Kassim, who was nominated for best cinematography at the awards, has announced he is pulling out of the contest as he objects ‘racist elements’.