10 Oct – The controversial "Nasi Lemak 2.0" film has been denied the 20 per cent tax rebate incentive enjoyed by most Malaysian films confirms The National Film Development Corporation (Finas), as it didn't qualify for the 'Wajib Tayang' (mandatory cinema screening) status due to 'prejudiced views' against director-actor Namewee, according to a report on the Daily Chilli's website.
"The film Nasi Lemak 2.0 has been viewed with prejudice because the producer (Namewee) had sparked a controversy before," Finas director-general Mohd Naguib Razak was quoted as saying.
He added, "As a result of this, the new film which wants to promote unity and foster the 1Malaysia spirit suffered."
Fred Chong, the executive producer of the movie (which managed to gross RM $4.5 million at the local box office after just two weeks of release), tried to appeal against Finas' ruling, but to no avail.
"Namewee is not the producer. He's the scriptwriter and director. I am the producer and I am not controversial," Chong was reported as saying.
"We're coming out with more justifications and explanations. Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (the minister in the Prime Minister's Department) has given us his endorsement, saying Nasi Lemak 2.0 is a 1Malaysia film," he added.
Although the exact box office figure since the movie's release in September is still pending, Chong adds, "... 20% tax out of it is a lot of money for us," he quipped. "We're just a small player in the local film industry."
The locally produced comedy, starring director-actor, Namewee along with Karen Kong, Afdlin Shauki, Datuk David Arumugam (of Alleycats), Kenny & Chee, Reshmonu, Nadine Ann Thomas, Pete Teo and Ho Yuhang was reported to have agreed to a pay cut as the movie was made with a budget less than RM $1 million.
Earlier Cinema Online reported that Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) had removed showtimes for the movie on their website as Astro First channel has bought over the rights of the movie which will be screened in high definition.
"We're not trying to stop people from going to the cinemas. Astro First is a good platform to showcase Malaysian films on TV weeks after the cinemas have shown them. We [also] have the family crowd who wrote in and said they couldn't go to the cinemas because they've got young children," Chong said.