Communication and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the ‘ban’ on Tanda Putera in Penang is stupid as it will be impossible for Lim Guan Eng to block the film from reaching audiences in his state.
The May 13 movie directed by Shuhaimi Baba – better known for her Pontianak franchise – is scheduled for release nationwide today.
Shabery said that even should Penang cinemas comply with the DAP-led state government’s “request” not to screen Tanda Putera, nonetheless in today’s world of borderless information dissemination, it is inevitable that the movie would find its way eventually to the protected viewers.
He questioned whether, supposing if Tanda Putera was aired by Astro two or three months down the road, would Guan Eng be able to ban the cable TV station from reaching Penangites.
It is an unprecedented move by any state government, said Shabery, to use its powers in an attempt to ‘ban’ a film — the matter of which comes under the purview of the film censorship board and Home Ministry.
Earlier Penang DAP exco in charge of local government Chow Kon Yeow had announced that the state government would direct its Penang Municipal Council and Seberang Prai Municipal Council to issue “letters” to all cinemas under their jurisdiction and “request” them not to screen the film.
Local councils are the authorities responsible for issuing an operating license to the cinemas.
Shabery, who was met at the Raya open house hosted by Bukit Bintang Umno Youth chief Tengku Azman Tengku Zainol Abidin last night at an open-air eatery in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, also said that Guan Eng’s heavy-handed response smacked of taking Malaysians back to the era of Lee Kuan Yew when an authoritarian government always knows best.
“DAP is PAP”, added the Minister.
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