Thursday, February 22, 2007


Apa Khabar Orang Kampung (known overseas as Village People Radio Show) has been banned by the Malaysian censorship board.

It was sent to the board on 18 January and the decision was made on 12 February but I only got the news today due to the Chinese New Year holidays.

7 reasons were given for the ban. They are:

1. The theme of this film seems to portray the crusade of the United Communist Front in Peninsular Malaya back then as a noble one which should be acknowledged. Therefore the film's message sides with these people especially the ethnic Malay communists.

2. This film also shows that the Malaysian government is unfair in failing to acknowledge their crusade.

3. This film shows the opinions and stories only of the communists about their stance and their purpose for fighting so that society will sympathise with and acknowledge their contributions.

4. Criticisms against the Malaysian Government are blatantly shown in this film for offering unacceptable rehabilitation terms as opposed to the Thai government which was willing to provide land, houses and basic amenities to support them after they stopped being communists. Aside from criticising the government, the monarchy and the Malays are also insulted.

5. This film tries to belittle Tunku Abdul Rahman, the former Malaysian Prime Minister, as the person responsible for the failure of the Baling Talks but the true fact is that the Communists did not agree to lay down their arms.

6. The former communist members likened their crusade to the crusade of Malay anti-British warriors such as Dato' Bahaman, Mat Kilau, Tok Gajah, Dato' Maharaja Lela, Tok Janggut and others. This is a distortion of historical facts.

7. This film is not suitable for public viewing because of its correct (sic) facts and it also touches on the sensitivities and bitter memories of security forces and members of the public who had been victims of communist violence.

(I think in the 7th reason, what they mean is 'incorrect' rather than 'correct.' How nice of me to correct their typos!)

I have until 10 March to appeal the decision. I will send the appeal letter sometime next week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks like an infringement of Article 10 of the Constitution. Nothing here about national security etc, just ppl getting upset blah blah.


12:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what do you know sonia blah blah blah

7:13 pm  
Blogger Reta said...

It's sad that while our local movies are making [good]waves overseas, we're still backward in terms of opening up to discussions and matters. All the best!

8:10 pm  
Blogger Dreamer said...

Still ya know, you had it coming. I really wanna watch it though, and probably will, the same day they let me watch a pair of boobs in cinema. Till then, take it easy comrade.

1:53 am  
Blogger Boinq said...

It's annoying really. Why do we need grumpy old men on the censorship board to give us an ultimatum like that?

Anyway, maybe the movie will rake up larger audiences overseas then they'll have to show it here. Good luck!

3:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please let me know if there's a private screening of Apa Khabar Orang Kampung. Well, you know how to reach me.

9:19 am  
Blogger Buds of April said...

Sorry to read that your movie had been banned. But then again, whats new with the oldies at the censorship board. Haven't the Malaysian mindset been underestimated long enough? Are 'we' afraid that this movie will greatly influence'their' believes? This is just another ideology.
We are always being cautioned about 'condeming' the Kerajaan Malaysia, but what about the sharing of thoughts? So.... kena buat sorok-sorok dalam selimut?
Imagine... . Da Vinci Code pun boleh lepas... and just because is is no threat?
Appeal and see what happens lah...

9:20 am  
Blogger Buds of April said...

Sorry to read that your movie had been banned. But then again, whats new with the oldies at the censorship board. Haven't the Malaysian mindset been underestimated long enough? Are 'we' afraid that this movie will greatly influence'their' believes? This is just another ideology.
We are always being cautioned about 'condeming' the Kerajaan Malaysia, but what about the sharing of thoughts? So.... kena buat sorok-sorok dalam selimut?
Imagine... . Da Vinci Code pun boleh lepas... and just because is is no threat?
Appeal and see what happens lah...

9:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sekurang-kurangnya filem Amir dah cukup ganas, kan?

9:35 am  
Blogger azmibinanuar said...

All the best in your appeal but I think the best bet for the public to see this film, is to get it at amazon when Amir decides to distribute the film through that channel. Or collaborate with the dvd pirates, at least it will be a sort of thumbing up the authorities. Just look at how blatant the pirates are at petaling street.

10:17 am  
Blogger Azman said...

No surprise we're not open in discussion. We are simply not made to. I am in my 20's, and the only show on TV that depicts the Emergency was Jungle Green Khaki Brown. I don't remember anything that was aimed in educating the public about the event preceeding that documentary. Even that was shown during fasting month, near break fast time. I doubt people would want to watch a show on war when they are enjoying their meal.

Of course there were few movies made before the documentary, but those movies don't really educate. They mainly show how Malayan soldiers got shot. And history lessons in school, lets not go there, please.

Until we have enough show like Jungle Green Khaki Brown, it's hard for Apa Khabar Orang Kampung or movies alike to get through, as it may be deemed as provoking (I've not seen the movie, so I shall not pass judgement, but the words from the cencorship board do give those sort of vibes).

I hope to watch your movie. If not on the silverscreen soon, maybe during the Merdeka month celebration, on TV, 20 years from now. Maybe by then, we've grown wiser.

10:48 am  
Blogger osaya said...

the ban is disappointing, foolish but expected. i wonder how long it would take for these monkeys in suits to realise that one cannot attempt to stymie alternative views forever. it is not only hopeless, it is counterproductive. the most ideal way is to provide better and stronger evidence for your own arguments and allow the public to decide on their own.

at this rate, malaysians will forever be left stagnant inside their little coconut shell.

11:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so sad when i heard that... please forget about Wawasan XXXX if our government reluctant to face up to the fact that these people do contribute to this country!!

11:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not u direct a film about Bukit Kepong#2 or "Kenapa PKM Gagal" something like that..

12:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Kenapa PKM Gagal" - ini ada juga disebut serba-sedikit dalam "Lelaki Komunis Terakhir" tapi dah kena ban tahun sudah, nak buat lagu mana? tak dapat lah 'rakyat' tahu "kenapa".

peminat filem jugak

4:09 pm  
Blogger Ng Yi-Sheng said...

<3 from Singapore. Your history is our history.

5:27 pm  
Blogger Amir Muhammad said...

The reasons in the original Malay:

1. Tema filem ini cuba menggambarkan seolah-olah perjuangan Barisan Bersatu Komunis di Semenanjung Tanah Melayu dahulu adalah satu perjuangan yang murni dan patut mendapat penghargaan. Dengan itu mesej filem ini lebih kepada usaha pihak tersebut terutamanya ke atas anggota komunis berbangsa Melayu.

2. Filem ini juga menunjukkan bahawa kerajaan Malaysia tidak berlaku adil kerana tidak menghargai perjuangan mereka.

3. Filem in lebih kepada menyuarakan pendapat atau cerita di pihak komunis itu sahaja tentang pendirian dan matlamat perjuangan mereka supaya masyarakat bersimpati dan menghargai sumbangan mereka.

4. Kritikan-kritikan terhadap Kerajaan Malaysia jelas ditunjukkan dalam filem ini kerana menawarkan skim pemulihan yang tidak dapat diterima berbanding dengan kerajaan Thailand yang sedia memberikan tanah, rumah dan kemudahan asas bagi membolehkan mereka meneruskan hidup setelah berhenti dari menjadi komunis. Di samping kritikan terhadap kerajaan, institusi kesultanan dana (sic) penghinaan terhadap orang Melayu juga ditunjukkan.

5. Filem ini juga cuba memperlekehkan YM Tunku Abdul Rahman, bekas Perdana Menteri Malaysia sebagai orang yang menyebabkan 'BALING TALK' menemui kegagalan sedangkan fakta yang sebenarnya ialah pihak Komunis tidak bersetuju meletakkan senjata.

6. Bekas anggota-anggota komunis itu menyamakan perjuangan mereka dengan perjuangan pahlawan-pahlawan Melayu yang mementang pemerintahan British seperti Dato' Bahaman, Mat Kilau, Tok Gajah, Dato' Maharaja Lela, Tok Janggut dan lain-lain. Ini memesongkan fakta sejarah.

7. Filem ini tidak sesuai untuk dipertontonkan kepada masyarakat umum kerana fakta-fakta yang tepat (sic) di samping menyentuh sensitiviti dan kenangan pahit bekas anggota keselamatan dan orang awam yang pernah menjadi mangsa kekejaman komunis

7:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you sure 'fakta yang tepat' is exactly what they're saying?

well yes, the ban is very much expected though i was really hoping it'd make the 18PL rating.

suggestion : how about some sort of 'warning' in big red capital letters as disclaimer of sorts at the beginning of the movie, saying something to the effect that the movie is only telling it as it is, from the 'other' point of view. maybe that would appease the panels to approve it as 18PL?

8:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...'s official.Been hearing the rumours bout this, but it wasn't till I saw it in the press and on your blog did it sinked in.What a shame really!I had actually look forward to it after I saw some of your stills at Silverfish last year.

Once again,Malaysians have been denied a chance to piece together a piece of the missing puzzle in history.

PS:Well,I guess the only silver lining this time round is they actually watched it,compared to the previous occasion.


12:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

<<--mind control-->>
there is only one truth>>>
>>>there is only BLACK<<<<
<-<<@there is only white@>>>->
|||||it's like this|||||||

3:55 am  
Blogger Amir Muhammad said...

Screening March 24 & April 8 in the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

Tickets on sale now. Do drop by if you happen to be there!

7:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Emergency ended decades ago. We as a nation should be more relaxed about a contrasting viewpoint. History has much to teach us.

6:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its weird how malaysian have double standards in movie screenings. like for example, overseas horror can be of anything. and its screened locally, whereas if it is made locally it will not be screened here - unless following a certain guideline which everyone knows is plain dumb (a dream? oh come on!).
they need to reset their priorities. learn to accept that current generation malaysians are more exposed and open minded because of the availability of internet and the sorts. we are no longer confined in our lame little filtered local media exposure.
i really hope this movie will show. Always loved Amir's work. I saw Last Communist thanks to our lovely pirates and it was enlightening. And i definitely dont feel like being a communist like the government suspects *rolls eyes* All the best amir for the appeal!

2:18 pm  
Blogger bibliobibuli said...

only just heard about this (where was i hiding?). sorry i kept teasing you about "your next banned film".

am building up a head of steam for an angry blog-rant.

3:04 pm  
Blogger Amir Muhammad said...

Useless trivia note: I found out about the ban on the day which was the 15th anniversary of Sudirman's death. Sudirman of course provided the theme song, which we bought the rights for. It's the highest-paid thing in the entire movie, including me!

4:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:02 am  
Blogger Amir Muhammad said...

Yes I agree: The decision to ban it is communistic in the worst totalitarian sense.

1:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amir

I am a Malaysian student at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in National University of Singapore. I met Tan Chui Mui when she came here to promote her shorts at the Asian Research Institute in the campus. I am encouraging my classmates in my Political Islam and Governance to watch the screening at The Arts House next month. I have your Shorts, the virus-free version, but not the rest yet. I watched Dari Jemapoh ke Manchester which I think you subtitled. If you are interested to hold a talk at my school, please get in touch with me. I am in the student committee and we are expected to organise dialogue with people we think are worth our time.

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