Film Directors’ Association official quits over language segregation issue

PETALING JAYA: The assistant-general secretary of the Film Directors’ Association of Malaysia (FDAM) Hafiz Ibrahim has resigned in protest of the segregation of categories based on language for this year’s Malaysia Film Festival (FFM).

“I am steadfast with the view that all Malaysian Films should be contested without segmentation regardless of language at FFM,” said Hafiz in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Monday.

“I have formally informed the board of my intention and the status of my resignation is subject to the approval of the board,” he said.

Hafiz’s resignation comes after several prominent personalities voiced their disagreement over the decision to have separate categories for Bahasa Malaysia and non-Bahasa movies.

Local comedian and filmmaker Afdlin Shauki announced his decision to boycott FFM. Prominent banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes expressed their support for Afdlin’s decision.

Cinematographer Mohd Noor Kassim on Monday returned two FFM trophies that he won to the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas).

FDAM general secretary Datuk Abdul Rahim Awang said in a statement on Monday that the national language of Malaysia is the Malay language and therefore the national award should be awarded to Malay-language films.

He said there is no discrimination as non-Malay filmmakers can also compete for the Best Film award if they adhere to the language requirement.

Films such as OlaBola, Jagat and The Kid From The Big Apple were not nominated for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director at FFM.

The popular films were instead nominated in the non-Bahasa Malaysia categories for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director.

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