Thursday, September 19, 2013

Call on the government to drop the charge against Pusat Komas programme coordinator Lena Hendry.

Media Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and Mp for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on September 19, 2013

Call on the government to drop the charge against Pusat Komas programme coordinator Lena Hendry.

Pusat Komas programme coordinator Lena Hendry was charged under section 6 (1) (b) of Film Censorship Act, 2002 at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate Court, for allegedly screening a documentary that was not approved by the Censorship Board

If found guilty, she can be fined no less than RM 5,000 and not more than RM 30,000. Alternately she can be jailed for a period of three years.

The charge against her is undoubtedly a violation of the constitutional principles and provisions on freedom of expression.

As I have said in July, the screening and  of the documentary “No Fire Zone” being screened in KL on the 3rd of June, 2013 and raid by Home Ministry have raised a lot of questions, with the prominent one being “Who rules Malaysia? The Malaysians or the Sri Lankan government?” 

These are what I further said:-

The documentary itself neither represents a movie sympathizing the LTTE nor highlights the killings of the Tamil Tigers and civilians alike, but rather a look into human rights and the justification of these killings.

Before the screening of the documentary on June 3rd, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, Ibrahim Ansar, issued a letter to the Malaysian government, which states the following: 

"I would like to inform you that it has been brought to our notice that a group of sympathizers of proscribed LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) terrorist organization have been making arrangements to screen a documentary film entitled ‘No Fire Zone' that is based on false and distorted facts.”

"Our Mission has already requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and the Censorship Board of the Government of Malaysia to ensure that no such film is screened in this country against the people and the Government of Sri Lanka."

Not only the letter itself being an attempt to hide the truth of the lives of our fellow man being killed indiscriminately, but the unfair labeling of the Komas as LTTE sympathizers is childish and an insult to human rights. The NGO, Komas, upon receiving the letter, then humbly offered an olive branch to the commissioner, to let him and his men to be part of the screening and let him tell and explain his part of the story, to which the reply was a yes.

Soon after, it was not the High Commissioner who came, but rather an odd number of 30-40 enforcers under the Home Ministry who came, who had demanded the film be stopped, as it has yet to be reviewed under the Film Censorship Board.” 

There has been wide spread allegations that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Malaysia is behind the push to have those who were involved in screening the “No Fire zone” to be prosecuted.

Has the government given in to the pressures? 

The government must do what is right. I urge the government to drop the charge against Lena.

I also reiterate my call that the government should summon the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and reprimand him for meddling in our local issues.

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