Unless if you were a “katak di bawah tempurung”, you’d probably heard of Namewee’s latest film “Babi” and how it has created widespread controversy locally.
“Babi”, which has also earned four nominations at various international film festivals such as the Open World Toronto Film Festival for Best Director and Best Actor and at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2020 for Best Original Film Song, tells of an alleged government cover up of a real-life event that took place 20 years ago in a school.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has since urged a local association to file an official complaint against “Babi” so the agency can begin an assessment of the film’s content.
The request was made following a police report made by the Malaysian Artistes’ Association (Seniman) against the film on December 11th at Taman Melawati police station for having elements of racism and tarnishing Malaysia’s image.
Seniman secretary-general Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nafiah feels that the film contains elements of racism after he had watched video clips of the said movie.
“We don’t prohibit any party from making critical films, but we must understand that Malaysia is a multi-racial country,” Mohd Hafiz was quoted as saying in a Bernama report.
“I represent Seniman in making the police report against Namewee for several factors. First, the forgery of documents by the company that produced the film Babi,” he was quoted as saying by Berita Harian, adding, “When Namewee applied to the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), he used a different name for the film, however, later converted it to Babi.”
“If he wants to change the title, he has to apply again but he has not,” Mohd Hafiz said.
He has also requested that MCMC block “Babi” on social media platforms and YouTube.
According to MCMC, enforcement action can be taken upon relevant agencies if results of the investigation prove to find violations of existing laws.
As of now, MCMC has reached out to YouTube after the release of the trailer of the film but is yet to receive feedback from them.
In the meantime, Malaysian filmmaker and singer Namewee has stood by his film that has been a hit in Taiwan, citing that the film is wholesome and accused certain parties for playing the race card for their own political agendas.
“This film actually promotes unity among the multi-racial community in the country. In fact, during filming, the cast and crew, made up of various ethnic backgrounds, worked together harmoniously,” he said.