22 Jun – At the 59th anniversary celebration of the Film Censorship Board at the Home Ministry, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar expressed his opinion that film industry players such as producers, directors, and the Film Censorship Board themselves should create films with the idea of instilling the values of patriotism and culture to educate society.
"It is not necessary to give millions of ringgit for the sake of corporate social responsibility. Use entertainment to change the perception of society," said Datuk Wan Junaidi.
It was also important that film industry players endeavour to highlight the positive aspects of Malaysia for viewers abroad in order to change the perception of outsiders and our society towards the values of culture and nationhood.
He added that producers and directors should not only focus on the scenery or sending a moral message, but also the norms of the life of the community in Malaysia, such as culture, religion and beliefs.
"The film industry has been given the freedom to compete with industries from abroad so that it becomes more mature. As such, the norms of life should be given priority, although parents, society and the Film Censorship Board should help to decide what should be viewed by youths to ensure that they are not exposed to negative material," he said.
Malaysian filmmaker Rahmah Ghazali, who is best known for producing the short documentary "A Stray Hero" with her husband Hisyam Salleh, agreed with Datuk Wan Junaidi, adding, "As Malaysia as a multi-racial country needs to portray to the outside world that we all live harmoniously regardless our ethnic backgrounds and I would personally encourage film makers to instil those elements in any movie they make."
However, she felt that Datuk Wan Junaidi should have been clearer about his definition of values of patriotism and culture.
"Patriotism means more than just being loyal to the country. It also means racial unity, but how many films out there that comprise characters from different racial backgrounds?"
Regardless, as Rahmah puts it, "...filmmakers in Malaysia, or anywhere in the world, make films just for profit and entertainment and not so much for educational purposes as Malaysians go to the movies as a form of escapism. They like to watch movies that do not require them to think. Films such as "Leftenan Adnan" and "Embun", despite their wonderful portrayal of the Japanese occupations, were not really appreciated by the masses because they tend to believe that patriotic movies are boring and dull."