Talking about movies, just a few days ago the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry announced a new ruling banning local filmmakers from showing Mat Rempit and men in women’s clothes in their productions:

The directive follows a letter from Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan to the Home Ministry to ban the term “Mat Rempit” in film and TV productions, and to ban scenes showing illegal racing and activities involving Mat Rempit.

Films featuring illegal racing do well at the box office. KL Menjerit and its sequel, KL Menjerit Episod 1, Remp-It and Bohsia are three movies that focus on the life of Mat Rempit and did well at the box office.

Many Malaysian films have at least one scene on Mat Rempit and a man dressed in women’s clothes (not necessarily a transvestite). Hit films that featured a scene or two of Mat Rempit and men in drag are Sifu & Tongga, Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak and Senario The Movie Episod 1. How will this new rule affect the booming local movie industry? Only the filmmakers have the answer.

Just a day after that, JAKIM announced that they’re clamping down on films that focus on horror, myth, superstition and false traditional elements which go against religious teachings:

Such films, dramas and publications have been deemed to be against the aqidah (faith) of the Muslims and violate clear guidelines issued by the religious authority.

Jakim research division director Razali Shahabudin said it would summon all producers and publishers to attend a seminar and present the guidelines as a reminder before the end of the year.

As you can see, this situation has put me in a deep dilemma of moral and principles.

First of all, I detest the current trend of glorifying Mat Rempits all in the name of quick cash (I’m looking at you bastards, Ahmad Idham and Syamsul Yusof) and the gratuitous appearances of mak nyahs in Malay films are certainly disturbing. I also think that the current market for local horror films has been oversaturated, and save for a few excellent movies, most of them are awfully crap (again, quick cash).

However, I am also a staunch opponent of censorship and bans, especially when they come from such moral polices.

My conviction wins this time.

I believe that filmmakers should have the liberty of making films, no matter which subject they choose. It is only with liberty can creativity flourish.

Day by day, Rais Yatim and his ministry are fast annoying the hell out of me with their “old men” attitude and almost totalitarian rulings. Information is about freedom, not restrictions, and definitely NOT about “requests” from the Police and Home Ministry.

Don’t get me started with JAKIM. What rights do they have summoning producers and publishers to attend their seminars? If things don’t go their iron-fisted way, you can count on a fatwa soon:

Jakim also encourages the parties involved to refer matters to them or respective religious authorities including the ulama and mufti before broadcasting or publishing such themes.

Razali said if the problem became serious and a fatwa (decree) had to be issued, Jakim would refer the matter to the National Fatwa Council muzakarah (meeting).

Just stop it with these restrictions and bans and rulings and referring to ulama, mufti and all these bureaucratic bullshit!

Why ban films about Mat Rempit, when police crackdowns on them are so pathetic? Why ban horror films when rip-off, girls-raping bomohs, pawangs and fucking djinn-exorcists get the light of the day?

Dear people in authority, you’re not doing enough and you’re shifting the blame on the filmmakers? Screw you.

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Syed Abu Bakar wrote a piece on the matter of this ruling in hocus pocus a few days, ago, but he had mysteriously pulled it down. You can read the cached version here.

He wrote of these people who thrive on hocus pocus:

There is one great conman who practices black magic crap in the name of Islam at his “clinic” in Bangi. The cone head is also a high ranking member of PAS – no. 2 or 3 in PAS. There is also another dumbkoff up north who once said that it was ok to write Arabic writing in a bowl, dissolve the writing in water and then drink the water to improve one’s memory to pass school exams. If I mention his name I can get prosecuted because this dumbkoff occupies an official position whose official pronouncements are protected by law!

Anyone knows of this “clinic”? I’d like to take a look at it. Also, if you practice the reading of writings in the bowl, leave a comment and tell me how it has helped with your SPM or other exams.

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