The return of Interlok and screening of Tanda Putera must be stopped
The National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT) revealed yesterday that the controversial novel, Interlok, is being made into a television drama serial funded by the government.
Its chief Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim claimed that RTM has been entrusted to produce the serial and plans are underway to start the shooting in the near future.
“Umno is planning for another May 13 by screening Tanda Putera and funding the production of the Interlok drama. They want to teach the Chinese and Malays a lesson for not supporting Barisan Nasional in the 13th general election,” he told a press conference here.
It is shocking that the government has so soon forgotten the strong objections made against the novel by the Indian and Chinese community.
When Interlok became a controversy in 2010, not only were the Indian community hurt by the novel’s contents, the Chinese community too raised their objections.
While the Indian community were in the forefront fighting to have the novel withdrawn as a school textbook, the Chinese groups too made clear their strong opposition to the book’s contents.
I reproduce below an extract of media report of the stand and views taken by the Chinese groups on March 30, 2011:-
In a statement today, Chinese associations from across Malaysia said the book was not only offensive to Indians but Chinese as well, as it depicted the character Kim Lock as a "miserly opium addict and callous adulterer" and his son, Cing Huat, as "cunning, greedy, unscrupulous and someone who would happily sell his daughters".
"Interlok" in its totality propagates the ideology of ketuanan Melayu. In our considered opinion, this novel is not only unhealthy but an insidious poison," the statement said.
"In fact, "Interlok" is barely a step away from the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) brainwashing that promotes racism and disunity. "Interlok" conveys the central message that Chinese, Indian and other minorities are second-class citizens in addition to perpetuating the divisive notion of a host community (the Malays) versus foreigners ("bangsa asing" Cina dan India )."
The groups also condemned the "major thread" in the book, which depicts the Chinese "cheating and oppressing" Malays or as "nasty and immoral" communist guerrillas.
The statement was signed by the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), LLG Cultural Development Centre, Malaysian-China Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Chinese Associations Johor, the Penang Chinese Town Hall and 40 others, including the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) and several Indian organizations.
Why has the government not learned from the past lessons? Is national unity and racial harmony not important to the BN government?
Is it true that the Intelok ‘s return is to teach the Chinese and Indians a lesson for not supporting the BN in the just concluded general elections?
Let me warn the BN government that if it takes a position to punish the voters for not supporting BN in the general election, then there will definitely be a stronger Malaysian Tsunami against BN in the next general election.
I call on the Prime Minister to accept the people’s verdict and do the right thing—cancel the Intelok’s return as well as stop the screening of Tanda Putera as the movie has received much criticism with claims that it has failed to paint a true picture of the May 13 incident.
National unity and racial harmony must be placed above party interest and Intelok must not be allowed to return and Tanda Putera’s screening should be stopped.