Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan became the latest to lash at the 28th Malaysia Film Festival Awards, accusing its controversial nominations as destroying the very industry they are protecting.

In a series of tweets, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department told organisers Malaysian Film Producers Association (PFM) and National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) to “lighten up” instead and reverse their decisions.

“Ola Bola and Jagat are epitome of hard work, creativity and passion of Malaysians. To Finas and PFM... Lighten up please!” Abdul Rahman said today.

“There is no place for language profiling in creative industry. Don't use it to curtail their creativity. Let them be and see the spark!”

The nominations of the two critically acclaimed movies — Chiu Keng Guan’s Ola Bola and Shanjhey Kumar Perumal’s Jagat — for Best Picture (non-Bahasa Malaysia) at the 28th FFM this year, instead of the main Best Picture category, had sparked public outrage as well as within the industry.

Popular actor-producer Afdlin Shauki and award-winning cinematographer and this year’s nominee Mohd Noor Kassim, both said they would boycott FFM28, which is to be held from September 1 to 3.

Their vocal criticism against the segregation, claiming it was a form of racialism, resonated with ordinary Malaysians and found support among prominent public personalities like CIMB Group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and airline tycoon Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

Abdul Rahman said there are many talents behind the camera who are fluent in Bahasa Malaysia, and they should not be denied recognition in return for certain parties feeling “over patriotic” about the national language.

Calling himself a big supporter of the creative industry, Abdul Rahman said he would bring the matter up to fellow minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak.

Yesterday, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh has promised to look into the budding controversy.

Finas and the Malaysian Film Producers Association have said that the separation of award categories in the FFM was meant to uphold the national language in local films.

Finas director-general Datuk Kamil Othman told Malay Mail Online that the national film agency has made it a policy for locally-made films to emphasise at least “70 per cent” Bahasa Malaysia usage in their scripts, but he also admitted it would be ideal if the Best Picture category in FFM was open to all films regardless of language.

Source -Malay Mail Online-

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