Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Stick to civil servants, not indie scene, publisher tells civics bureau

BY JAMILAH KAMARUDIN

Student activist and author Adam Adli Abd Halim might influence the younger generation and have an impact at the next general election, according to the National Civics Bureau. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 11, 2015.

Student activist and author Adam Adli Abd Halim might influence the younger generation and have an impact at the next general election, according to the National Civics Bureau. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 11, 2015.
Putrajaya's National Civics Bureau (BTN) should focus on its role on human development, especially among public sector employees and not meddle in the affairs of the Malaysian "indie" music and literature movement, said publisher Faisal Mustaffa said.

The Merpati Jingga managing director said that he was concerned the allegations made by BTN would affect writers and the publishing industry.
"BTN should focus on issues such as uplifting values, especially among the civil service.
"Do not waste taxpayers’ money. There is a lot more BTN needs to do for the sake of human development,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
BTN had red-flagged the Malaysian "indie" music and literature movement, saying that it is anti-establishment and could impact the results of the next general election.
In a document that was earlier available online but which has since been removed, BTN also highlighted student activist Adam Adli Abd Halim, DAP member Melati Rahim, and writer and independent filmmaker Amir Muhammad as being members of the indie scene.
BTN, an agency under the Prime Minister's Department, which critics say functions to “brainwash” civil servants into being loyal to the government, described indie (independent) music as ska, hip hop and rap while its literature genres include Zine, Blook (Blog + Book), Blog, Facebook and Telegram.
BTN also listed Merpati Jingga, Studio Anai-Anai, Lejen Press, DuBook Press, Poket Press as indie book publishers.
Faisal however denied that his publications were of the indie genre, saying instead that he was more focussed on encouraging creativity and a sense of honesty in the work of literary writers.
He added that this did not mean they were totally free to write their stories, adding that his publishing company had its own filtering system.
"I don't consider Merpati Jingga as indie. I did not give that title and in fact I always pose the question, ‘What is indie?’
"I am more inclined towards encouraging critical thinking. If a manuscript is selected, that shows it is beneficial to society.
"And please, we cannot be writing stories about 'uztaz' and 'sotong' husbands.
"The variation is that while mainstream publishers dish out rice, we offer pizza, its about choice," said Faisal, who was previously detained by Jais and his home raided by the Home Ministry on suspicion of publishing books that were deemed controversial.
Faisal said he will leave it to his lawyers to study the issues before taking any further action.
"I did not realise the document has been on the BTN website since March 11 until it was reported in the news and social media," he added.
Merpati Jingga was set up in 2009 and has since published 30 manuscripts.
Publisher Selut Press owner Aloy Paradoks expressed disappointment over BTN’s allegations on his Twitter account saying: Sampai hati BiroTataNegara declare aku menghidupkan gerakan musuh negara dalam ceramah2 dan slide show dia orang. Aku pelakon teater je kot".
(How did BTN have the heart to declare me as reviving the anti-state movement in their speeches and their slide show. I am just a theatre actor).
Following that, he announced that he was cancelling his annual poem competition Eksotikata.
Meanwhile, Melati said she was confused if the label given to her was on her capacity as a DAP member or because of her first novel “Disebalik Serban” published by Merpati Jingga, which is seen by BTN as lewd.
"I'm not sure if the novel is obscene or because I'm a DAP member.
Defending her novel “Pelacur Kelas Pertama”, she said that it was a true story about an uztaz who was respected in the community because of his religious disposition while the fact was that he was sexually abusing his wife was kept under wraps.
She added that the book did not detail the intimate acts or extreme obscenity, but instead stressed on the message that the community was too quick to judge a person by their external image.
She also said that the book also passed the Home Ministry's censorship rules before 1,000 copies were printed in April last year.
"I am not sure how many copies have been sold because the commission is channelled to charity homes," said the tudung-clad woman who joined the DAP last year.
Latest checks revealed that the documents have been removed from the BTN website.
The documents had caused a storm of emotions to be expressed on social media, most of whom criticised BTN for not sticking to its main goals.
DAP lawmaker Dr Ong Kian Ming had posted on Twitter: Jadi duit rakyat diberikan kpd #BTN untuk mengeluarkan propaganda anti-DAP?" (So taxpayers money given to BTN to come up with anti-DAP propaganda?) – June 16, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/stick-to-civil-servants-not-indie-scene-publisher-tells-civics-bureau#sthash.JhpDJctJ.dpuf

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