Sunday, July 28, 2013

In uproar over pre-Merdeka film, Guan Eng points out BN’s communism link

Lim Guan Eng today labelled Umno Youth and Utusan Malaysia “hypocrites” for criticising local flick “The New Village” over its portrayal of communism, reminding them that one of its own, Khairy Jamaluddin, had once established an alliance with the Communist Youth League (CYL) of China.

The DAP secretary-general said Khairy, now a minister and Umno Youth’s chief, had in his capacity as the Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth chairman, announced the formation of a permanent secretariat in October 2009 to strengthen ties with the CYL.

At the time, Lim claimed Khairy had said that the secretariat was a “party-to-party” direct linkage between both movements and would serve as a platform to facilitate continuous bilateral programmes and promote a stronger bond between BN Youth and the CYL.

“And yet no action is taken when Khairy knowingly, consciously and intentionally establishes a direct linkage through a permanent secretariat with the CYL,” the Penang chief minister said in a statement.

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“Clearly both Umno Youth and Utusan Malaysia are hypocrites and practise double standards for failing to ask for action against BN Youth chairman Khairy Jamaluddin for glorifying communism by forming an alliance between BN Youth and the CYL of China,” he added.

Lim also questioned Utusan Malaysia and Umno Youth’s silence in other instances, such as former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Nor’s signing of a peace agreement on behalf of Malaysia with the Communist Party of Malaya in 1989 or even Malaysia’s diplomatic relations with communist countries like China, Cuba and Vietnam.

“Utusan Malaysia and Umno Youth are relying on their old playbook by recycling the 3D tactics of denial of their own communist links, dirty tactics to scare Malaysians of a communist conspiracy and deception to link non-Malays or opponents of BN with communists,” he said.

The DAP leader’s remarks today comes following Utusan Malaysia’s criticism of “The New Village”, a film depicting the large-scale resettlement of roughly 500,000 Chinese during the Emergency years in the country, then called Malaya, as part of the colonial British government’s security efforts to curb the spread of communism post-World War Two.

But in an opinion piece by Awang Selamat — the nom-de-plume for the paper’s collective editorial voice — the film-makers were accused of using the flick as a medium to glorify communism.

Awang claimed the film presented a “skewed perspective” of history in an attempt to revive a campaign to bring back exiled former communist guerilla leader Chin Peng to the country, and contrasted it to “Tanda Putera”, which the columnist argued to be a historically-accurate retelling of events of the May 13, 1969 race riots, focusing on Malaysia’s second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and his deputy Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

“Tanda Putera” had similarly sparked controversy after snippets were leaked online last year.

Joining the fray later, Khairy questioned the timing of the release dates for “Tanda Putera” and “The New Village”, pointing out that while the latter was to be screened on August 22, the former would only be shown a week later.

“There should not be any double standards,” he said on his Twitter page yesterday.

After complaints against the film created a furious storm on the Internet, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday announced that its release would be temporarily suspended pending a check by local censors.

“We have to postpone the premiere date pending another thorough look into the movie’s plot,” the minister was quoted as saying yesterday.

“The board will review the plot and the hidden messages in the movie,” he added, referring to the Censorship Board, which comes under the Home Ministry.

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