Malicious plan behind May 13 film, claims Bersih

(Malaysiakini) – The Bersih coalition has condemned the closed-door preview of the film Tanda Putera yesterday, saying that it perpetuates the politics of fear and is “a step backwards” in the nation’s political discourse.

“Although we have yet to watch the film, we understand there are parts of the film that are unhealthy that could trigger interracial hatred and distrust.”

“We feel that there is malicious intent behind the airing of the film, such as scaring the voters so that they would continue to support BN.”

“We feel that this practice is unhealthy. What we want is competition that is healthy, based on policies regarding change, health, education, development and others. That is what we want – debate,” said Bersih steering committee member Toh Kin Woon (picture) at a press conference today.

He added that this would be better than inciting fear, because it enables voters to make their choice after comparing the policies of contesting parties.

The controversial film, which has yet be aired publicly, was shown to some 3,000 Felda settlers yesterday at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s request.

The film was about the relationship of Najib’s father and then Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein and his deputy, Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 racial riots.

However, critics have said that the film’s depiction of the riots was too reliant on the official version of the events.

The film’s director Shuhaimi Baba had defended the film, saying that it would help the nation to recover from its May 13 trauma.