Stop Silencing Local Creatives: Here Is The Support For ‘Mentega Terbang’ & How You Can Show Yours

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Avoid 'witch hunt' over Mentega Terbang, citizens' groups tell Putrajaya | Malay Mail

For those unaware, JUICE’s breakout film of 2021, Mentega Terbang, is now facing unjust vitriol from conservatives with several organisations wanting it banned and seeking repercussions towards the filmmakers.

As a quick recap, JAKIM concluded that the film goes against the creed and way of life of Muslims while Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (PUTRA) urged the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) to ban the film for allegedly promoting pluralism.

After audiences rejoiced when the film was finally made available on streaming platform Viu, MCMC had the film taken down due to its “contentious” nature.

Khairi Anwar (left) Arjun Thanaraju (right)

At the time of writing, director, Khairi Anwar, and writer/actor, Arjun Thanaraju, are being question by police at Bukit Aman HQ.

Khairi has denied all allegations that the film aims to instil apostasy amongst Muslims.

While this news is devastating, especially since we have showed our whole-hearted support towards the film (and we will continue to do so), it is not the least bit surprising.

Mentega Terbang No Longer On Viu, Minister Asks Jawi To Meet Production Team | TRP

We have reported time and time again of the severe censorship in Malaysian filmmaking as well as the reluctance to discuss topics such as religion and faith openly and without fear, so this crackdown against Mentega Terbang and its brave creators had peeked its ugly head from the horizon as soon as it was made available to the general public.

Despite the film’s polarising story, it that does not detract from its importance, and many Malaysians have recognised this and shown their support for the filmmakers during this precarious time.

Freedom Film Festival | Human Rights Film Network

Freedom Film Fest, an organisation that also been probed by police due to controversial material, has come forward to stop the witch hunt for Mentega Terbang in the form of a statement and petition.

Essentially, the collective is speaking out against the threats, bullying and fearmongering perpetuated by certain groups that have the potential to hinder our freedom of speech and affect the enjoyment of our rights and democracy.

They are calling out all Malaysians to help them push against the threats and violence that are being used to critique art and media that is seen as “polarising”.

With that, they have attached a petition, which you can sign here. 

The petition has since reached 600+ signatures which is 400 signatures shy of their 1,000 goal. Amongst the signees include:

  • Amnesty International Malaysia,
  • Association of Women Lawyers (AWL),
  • Beyond Borders,
  • Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ),
  • GERAK (Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia),
  • Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU Malaysia) @ Initiative to Promote Tolerance and Prevent Violence (INITIATE.MY),
  • Kuman Pictures,
  • Sisters In Islam,
  • SUARAM and
  • Women’s Aid Organisation

Read their full statement below and on their petition page:

Other displays of support have been shown online as well, while a handful of Malaysians are calling out the board for its hypocrisy in approving other films that actually include elements that are harmful to the minds of susceptible Malaysian audiences…

Will there be a space for honest Malaysian stories to prevail if we keep silencing the creatives brave and talented enough to tell them?

Each Malaysian has a unique story to share and with each story being projected onto the screen, we feel more and more represented and seen.

What happens when there are no stories left?