Mentega Terbang director fails to get leave to appeal, gag order stays

PUTRAJAYA: The gag order imposed by a Magistrate’s Court on Mentega Terbang director and scriptwriter Mohd Khairianwar Jailani stays, prohibiting him from making any statements or comments regarding his ongoing criminal case.

This follows a decision by a Court of Appeal three-member panel led by Justice Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim on Friday (April 19) to dismiss Mohd Khairianwar’s application to obtain leave to enable him to proceed with the appeal in an attempt to lift the gag order.

Justice Ahmad Zaidi said Mohd Khairianwar failed to show that the Magistrate and the High Court judge had erred in exercising their discretions to impose the gag order on him (Mohd Khairianwar).

Justice Ahmad Zaidi, who sat with Court of Appeal judge Datuk Azmi Ariffin and High Court judge Datuk Noorin Badaruddin, said the questions of law proposed by Mohd Khairianwar’s lawyer were not novel.

On Jan 17, Mohd Khairianwar, 32, and the producer, Tan Meng Kheng, 36, pleaded not guilty in two separate Magistrate’s Courts to a charge of intentionally hurting the religious sensitivities of others through their movie Mentega Terbang last year at premises in Jalan Semarak Api, Kuala Lumpur at 12.34pm on Feb 26 last year.

The Magistrate’s Courts allowed the prosecution’s request for a gag order preventing both men from making any comments or statements on their cases pending disposal of the cases. The men then filed revision applications to the High Court.

On Jan 24, the High Court dismissed Mohd Khairianwar’s revision application and maintained the gag order against him. Meanwhile, another High Court lifted the gag order imposed on Tan.

Mohd Khairianwar’s lawyer Zaid Malek sought the court for leave as he wanted the court to decide three legal questions but deputy public prosecutor Parvin Hameedah said there was no necessity for the court to decide the legal questions as the issues were not novel.

Parvin said the Magistrate had exercised her discretion to impose the gag order and the High Court upheld the decision.

The Home Affairs Ministry banned the screening and publicity of the movie through the Government Gazette P.U (A) 2662 Film Censorship Act 2002, the Film Censorship (Prohibition) Order 2023 dated Aug 21, 2023, signed by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The film, broadcast on a video streaming platform, has faced public backlash and anger for purportedly depicting scenes involving conflicting religious beliefs and elements. - Bernama

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