The announcement of playing the national anthem Negaraku in cinemas nationwide from Aug 28 until Sept 3 appears to have received mixed responses from the public.

The majority of the movie-goers interviewed by Malaysiakini last week showed no objection to the announcement.

street interview on cinema negaraku issue 250813 huang rui xiangHowever, they opined that it is not necessary to enforce the National Anthem Act 1968, which states any person who knowingly shows disrespect towards the national anthem in any public place shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.

Local film producer Huang Rui Xiang (left) said it.s “too over” for the government to implement the new policy.

“I don’t understand why the government has such a new measure. If you want to raise patriotism, you have many other ways to do it.

“We sang the national anthem in many rallies, including the Bersih rally. But we were still beaten up by the government. Isn’t singing Negaraku an act of patriotism, too?”

Questioning the new policy, Huang expressed doubt over the government’s purpose of doing this.

street interview on cinema negaraku issue 250813 jagpreet kaurAnother interviewee, Jagpreet Kaur, 33 (left), welcomed the new policy.

“This is a good idea. I am a teacher, we can teach our students how to respect and love our country.

“This is one of the best ways to show how much we respect our country.”

However, she said there is no need to enforce the law and punishment.

“I don’t think so, because it come from everybody’s heart, whether you want to respect your country or not, this is your decision.”

‘This is not a communist country’

A 36 year old businessman, who was only willing to be identified as Mr Chong, said the new policy was not suited to be implemented in Malaysia.

“We have gained independence for 56 years and we should not turn into a communist country...

“Patriotism should come from the heart. If you love your country, you will love it by yourself instead of only talking about it.”

While he believed the government may not necessary enforce the penalty, he said he would leave the cinema if anyone compels him to follow the new policy.

street interview on cinema negaraku issue 250813 muhamad hafiz abdul hamidSales executive Muhamad Hafiz Abdul Hamid, 26 (left), lauded the new move as “one of the best ways of loving our country”.

“If all of us can sing Negaraku in the cinema, we shall be proud of ourselves and proud of our country,” he said.

He said it may be necessary to fine those who fail to follow the law but it is too much to jail a person for that.

“If the imprisonment can be changed to ‘sapu lantai’ (community service), together with the fine, it would be better.”

Another interviewee, Nur Khairunisa Li Abu Talip, 23, a fitness coach, said the period to enforce the policy is too long.

“Doing it on Aug 31 is okay, but if one week is too much, this will make the people not respect our national anthem more.”