It was also "inappropriate" to air Tanda Putera, which is "not a historical" documentation of incidents on Merdeka Day.
KUCHING: The screening of controversial Tanda Putera weeks before Umno begins divisional elections in view of its October general assembly and polls is the work of certain leaders with “ulterior motives”, claimed the opposition here. .
Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian also said that it was “particularly disturbing” that the film was tagged to a government directive to play the national anthem.
Bian believes the screening and government order was aimed at projecting Umno as the ‘savior” of the Malay race and Islam.
“You know that Umno meeting is coming up and there are some leaders who want to be seen to be protecting and championing their race and religion.
“They are using the screening of Tanda Putera to trigger and instill that kind of patriotism for some Umno leaders.
“That I believe is one of the reasons why they demand that Tanda Putera be shown in cinemas,” he said.
Bian was commenting on the statement by Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who reportedly said that the the Malaysian National Film Development Corporation (Finas) had been asked to “ensure” that tanda Putera is screened in cinemas and at the same time the Negaraku be played before and after the screening of movies.
Tanda Putera is supposed to be based on the lives of the late Prime Minister Abdul Razak and his deputy Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman and events and facts leading to the May 13 racial riots in Malaya in 1969.
Bian, who is the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, said that the directive is disturbing especially since it is being tagged to the airing of the national anthem in all cinemas and that cinema goers display their patriotism and loyalty to king and country by standing up.
“This is contradictory in the sense that the film is not very accurate in its historical narration.
“I do not agree that at this stage of time to raise sensitive issues of races and religion, while the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are keeping silent.
“They have not uttered words to reprimand those who raised such issues and to make a stand in their capacity as prime minister and deputy prime minister.
“You are prime minister and deputy prime minster for all religions and all races.
“That to me is very disturbing and very disappointing,” Bian added.
Meanwhile in Miri, PAS Women central information chief Aiman Athirah AlJundi said that the screening of the movie on Merdeka Day was “inappropriate”.
“There are disturbing elements in the movie which may cause racial tension in a multi-racial and multi-religious society like ours.
“There are also slanderous scenes that could provoke racial hatred,” she said adding that even before its airing the film had sparked controversies about the accuracy of its contents.
“It is not a historical film.. it is a work of a fiction and airing it on Merdeka Day is inappropriate,” she said.