LFL: Hypocritical to praise Michelle Yeoh's Oscar win but probe 'Mentega Terbang'

PETALING JAYA: It is hypocritical of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and other government leaders to praise Michelle Yeoh's Oscar win when police are continuing a probe on a locally produced film, says Lawyers for Liberty (LFL).

LFL director Zaid Malek said it is distasteful for the government to "ride on the coattails" of Yeoh's acting success when the producers and actors of the independent movie "Mentega Terbang" are being investigated by police.

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"Are Anwar, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, and other leaders not aware that in Malaysia, Yeoh's movie would have led to a criminal investigation for 'offending sentiments' or 'breach of religious sensitivity'?"

"Yeoh herself would likely have been hauled up for police questioning due to the LGBT themes in it," he said.

Zaid said the first step in the right direction would be to immediately halt ongoing investigations on everyone involved in the film and stop using enforcement authorities to harass other filmmakers and artists for their art.

"Only then can the local film and art scene truly flourish and the government would have a right to share in the glory of the achievements of Malaysian actors or filmmakers," he said.

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Last week, police recorded the statements of the film's director Khairi Anwar Jailani and actor Arjun Thanaraju with Zaid as their lawyer.

The case is being investigated under Section 298A and Section 505(b) of the Penal Code for causing disharmony and making statements that lead to public alarm and distress as well as Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act for misuse of network facilities.

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