Drop charges on Mentega Terbang’s filmmakers

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We, the undersigned, are writing this statement in response to the recent charges brought against Mohd Khairi Anwar Jailani and Tan Meng Kheng, whose recent film Mentega Terbang, has ignited a conversation around religious issues.

It is disheartening to learn that they are facing charges of “wounding religious feelings”, as it goes against the fundamental principles of creative and artistic freedom.

Art has long been a powerful medium for exploring and understanding various facets of our society, including religious beliefs. Artists, through their work, have the ability to provoke thought, challenge norms, and encourage dialogue.

The imposition of legal charges against them not only stifles creative expression but also sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the very essence of freedom.

Personal thoughts and expression are a cornerstone of democratic societies, providing individuals the right to express their ideas, beliefs and perspectives. Artistic creations, in particular, play a crucial role in fostering diversity of thought and promoting understanding among different communities.

It is through the exploration of diverse themes, even those that touch on sensitive topics like religion, that societies grow and evolve.

It is imperative to recognise that filmmakers, like all artists, should not bear the responsibility of ensuring their work does not offend or challenge the sensibilities of their audience.

Watching films is a voluntary act, and audiences, in turn, should exercise their own discretion when choosing what to engage with. Just as literature, visual art, and music have done throughout history, films have the power to evoke a range of emotions and opinions, and it is the responsibility of the audience to interpret and respond in a manner that is civil and within the boundaries of what is ethical and just.

If, as a society, we value freedom that has long been fought for by our forefathers, it is essential to emphasise the importance of individual agency and the autonomy of the audience.

Rather than imposing restrictions on artistic expression, we should encourage open and constructive dialogue, allowing individuals to engage with diverse perspectives and make informed choices about the media they consume.

As a community that champions creative and artistic freedom, we must stand united in condemning any attempts to place undue restrictions on filmmakers or any artists.

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Let us celebrate the power of art to challenge, inspire and provoke thoughtful reflection, trusting in the capacity of audiences to navigate the complex landscape of creative expression with their own discernment.

We urge authorities to reconsider these charges and recognise the importance of fostering an environment that nurtures artistic freedom. Let us embrace the power of art to challenge, inspire and ultimately, unite us in our shared humanity.

Badrul Hisham Ismail, film director

Endorsed by:

  1. A Samad Hassan, head of operations, KLPost
  2. A Ahmad, writer, editor
  3. Abdul Shakir, digital artist
  4. Adam Jay (Titikmerah Collective)
  5. Adam Zainal, film director
  6. Adeleena Lim, trauma therapist
  7. Adriana Nordin Manan, playwright, writer
  8. Agilan Sethu, line producer
  9. ⁠Aina Marlisa, writer (Sinema Awan Mendung)
  10. Al Jafre, film director, scriptwriter
  11. Alena Nadia, journalist
  12. Ali Alasri, artist
  13. ⁠Alina Wong, writer, director
  14. Aliran (Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara)
  15. Alison Khor, arts practitioner
  16. Amalia S, film event organiser (Indonesia)
  17. Amanda Nell Eu, filmmaker
  18. Amir Muhammad, writer, publisher, filmmaker
  19. Amy Len, dance artist (Kwang Tung Dance Company)
  20. Amy Lim, producer
  21. Ananth Subramaniam, film director
  22. Angelina Marilyn Bok, film producer (Singapore)
  23. Anis Majida, Producer, writer
  24. Anne James, actress, educator (Five Arts Centre)
  25. Anwar Johari Ho, filmmaker (Zi An Pictures)
  26. Arief Hamizan, theatre practitioner
  27. Arts-ED (Persatuan Pendidikan Seni Pulau Pinang)
  28. Azmyl Yunor, singer-songwriter, educator
  29. Bea Tanaka @ Tan Chooi Bea, producer
  30. Bernadette Anne Carpio, actor
  31. Beverly Yong, arts worker (RogueArt)
  32. Boyz Chew, artistic director (Orang Orang Drum Theatre)
  33. Chacko Vadaketh, actor, host, voiceover, artist
  34. Chandrawati Abdullah, producer
  35. Chen Yoke Pin, arts and cultural worker
  36. Chew Kinwah, actor
  37. Cheyenne Tan, director, producer
  38. Chi Too, Arts worker
  39. Chia Chee Sum, filmmaker
  40. Chloe Yap Mun Ee, filmmaker, video artist
  41. Choo Mun Bel, film producer
  42. Chua Jing Xuan, filmmaker
  43. ⁠Dabble Dabble Jer Collective
  44. Dain Said, film director
  45. Danny Lim, writer, journalist
  46. Dato’ Dr Faridah Merican, co-founder, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac)
  47. Dato’ Zahim Albakri, actor, director of films and theatre
  48. Deena Dakshini, filmmaker
  49. ⁠⁠Dhinesha Karthigesu, artistic director (Theatresauce)
  50. Diffan Norman, producer, writer, director
  51. Dr Fiona Lee, academic
  52. Eddie Wong, artist, filmmaker
  53. Eleanor Teh Zi Xian, producer
  54. Elise Shick, producer
  55. Elroi Yee, journalist
  56. ⁠Emily Thomas, (ReformARTsi)
  57. Ezrena Marwan, cultural worker
  58. Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, arts pracitioner (Five Arts Centre)
  59. Fairuz Sulaiman, artist (Sekolah Main Wayang)
  60. Fara Omar, producer
  61. Farah Rani, actor
  62. Feisal Azizuddin, filmmaker
  63. Five Arts Centre
  64. Foo Fei Ling, producer
  65. Foo May Lyn, art maker
  66. Freedom Film Network
  67. Gan Siong King, visual artist
  68. Gogularaajan Rajendran, filmmaker
  69. Goh Lee Kwang, artist
  70. Grace Ng, actress
  71. Gunung Cherita
  72. Hadi M Nor, scriptwriter
  73. Hariati Azizan, journalist
  74. Ho Lee Ching, theatre practitioner
  75. Hoe Hui Ting, company manager (Five Arts Centre)
  76. Hoo Fan Chon, visual artist
  77. Ian Yee, Journalist
  78. In Between Cultura
  79. Instant Cafe Theatre
  80. Ista Kyra, writer, editor and co-founder (Eksentrika)
  81. Ivy Josiah, women’s rights advocate, producer (Five Arts Centre)
  82. Jean Chang, producer
  83. Jefry Musa, filmmaker
  84. Jen Nee Lim, writer, director (Singapore)
  85. Jentayu
  86. Jillian Ooi, gamelan musician (Rhythm in Bronze)
  87. Jo Kukathas, theatre maker
  88. Joanna Lee, producer
  89. Joe Hasham, co-founder, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac)
  90. Juliet Jacobs, journalist
  91. Junad M. Nor, director
  92. June Tan, scriptwriter
  93. Justin Ong, director
  94. ⁠⁠Kakiseni
  95. Kalash Nanda Kumar, film critic, journalist
  96. Kamini Senthilathiban, artist (LexisNexis)
  97. Kee Thuan Chye, actor, dramatist
  98. Keenen Yong, lecturer
  99. Kelvin Wong, theatre director (Theatresauce)
  100. Ken Kin, filmmaker
  101. Kenneth Wong, founder, People Ideas Culture
  102. Khairun Lamb, director of photography
  103. Kiew Suet Kim, theatre practitioner
  104. Koh Aun Qi, producer
  105. Komfit
  106. KongsiKL
  107. Kubhaer Jethwani, filmmaker (Five Arts Centre)
  108. Lau Kek Huat, filmmaker
  109. Lau Kok Rui, film director
  110. Laura Low, filmmaker
  111. Lee Ren Xin, performance maker
  112. Lee Yve Vonn, producer
  113. Lena Srinivasan, filmmaker
  114. Leong Siew Hong, scriptwriter, director
  115. Leow Puay Tin, playwright
  116. Lian Kian Lek, creative (Nowhere Kitchen)
  117. Liew Seng Tat, filmmaker
  118. Liishvaar Jagathes Kumar, filmmaker
  119. Lim Boon Siang, screenwriter
  120. Lim Chung Wei, drama teacher (Trio Drama Academy)
  121. Lim Han Loong, filmmaker
  122. Lim Kok Yoong, academician, artist
  123. Lim Ying Xian, producer
  124. Lina Teoh, documentary producer
  125. Ling Tang, artist, producer
  126. Loganathan Kanabathy, actor, editor, writer, director
  127. Loh Jo Yee, producer
  128. Low Pey Sien, cultural worker
  129. ⁠Luvenia Kalia, dancer
  130. ⁠⁠Mah Jun Yi, producer
  131. Mahen Bala, filmmaker
  132. Mahi Ramakrishnan, documentary filmmaker
  133. ⁠Marion F D’Cruz, performance maker, educator (Five Arts Centre)
  134. Mark Teh, performance maker (Five Arts Centre)
  135. Martin Vengadesan, associate editor (Malaysiakini)
  136. Mary Grace Liew, filmmaker (Foreground Pictures)
  137. Mee Quin, filmmaker
  138. Meshalini Muniandy, theatre worker
  139. Mickey Lai, filmmaker
  140. Miriam Devaprasana, writer
  141. Mogan Selvakannu, documentary filmmaker
  142. MoOne Drama
  143. Muqri Azlan, filmmaker
  144. Nadira Ilana, filmmaker
  145. Nadirah Zakariya, visual artist
  146. Namron, Actor, director
  147. Nandita Solomon, film worker
  148. Noor Anwar Hadi Noor Azman, scriptwriter
  149. Nora Nabila, filmmaker
  150. Nur Amalia Mohd Azmi, producer
  151. Octo, artist
  152. Okui Lala, arts and culture worker
  153. Omar Ali, arts practitioner
  154. Othman Hafsham, director
  155. ⁠Persatuan Penulis Berbilang Bahasa (PEN Malaysia)
  156. Peta Khan, producer, Maitree House
  157. Philip Chai, theatre practitioner
  158. Pun Kai Loon, artistic director
  159. Rachel Yeoh, writer
  160. Rafidah Abdullah, scriptwriter
  161. Rahmah Pauzi, filmmaker
  162. Raja Adam Iskandar, filmmaker (Arja Films)
  163. Ravi Navaratnam (Five Arts Centre)
  164. Razlan Saharudin, producer (Denhouse)
  165. ReformARTsi
  166. Riani Singgih, producer (Indonesia)
  167. Rimbun Dahan
  168. Roshan Ravi, producer
  169. Rosheen Fatima Mutalip, arts practitioner
  170. Rupa Subramaniam, artist, organiser
  171. Saidah Rastam, artist
  172. Seksan, landscape architect
  173. Shamaine Othman, writer, comedian
  174. Shamila Othman, PR manager
  175. Shamyl Othman, director
  176. Shaq Koyok, Artist, activist
  177. Sharmilla Ganesan, culture writer and critic
  178. Sharon Chin, artist
  179. Sharon Chong, video editor
  180. Shawna Scully, drama student
  181. Sheau Yun, writer
  182. Sherman Ong, filmmaker, visual artist
  183. Shufitri Mohd Shukardi, performer, visual artist
  184. Shufiyan Shukor, video producer
  185. Simon Soon, academic
  186. Siring Siring Production
  187. Sofea Izrin Lee, writer
  188. Soh Chong Hong (CloudJoi)
  189. Stagebox Ventures
  190. Suhaila Merican (Five Arts Centre)
  191. Sukhbir Cheema, writer and co-founder (Eksentrika)
  192. Sunitha Janamohanan, arts manager, educator
  193. Susie Kukathas, producer
  194. Suzanne Ong, scriptwriter
  195. Svara
  196. Syalikh Nazrul, filmmaker
  197. Taha Long, filmmaker (Tapir Studio)
  198. Tan Bee Hung, dance practitioner
  199. ⁠Tan Cher Kian, producer
  200. Teck Tan, producer, director (Spinning Gasing)
  201. Teo Wey Yinn, filmmaker, composer
  202. Terence Toh, author, writer
  203. The Cooler Lumpur Festival
  204. ⁠⁠Theatresauce
  205. Thiyagu Govindan, filmmaker
  206. Umi Salwana Omar, director
  207. Usen Leong, senior lecturer (NEUC)
  208. Uthaya Sankar SB, writer, researcher
  209. Wyn Hee, Theatre Producer (Stagebox Ventures)
  210. Yap Sau Bin, visual arts curator
  211. Yasu Tanaka, director, writer
  212. Yati Kaprawi, artist, documentary filmmaker
  213. Yee Heng Yeh, writer
  214. Yong Keenen, lecturer (MMU)
  215. Zan Azlee, documentary filmmaker
  216. Zarul Al Bakri, producer
  217. Zyee Leow, performer (Orang Orang Drum Theatre)
The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
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