A government agency approved the script, but the information and culture ministry refused a RM2.5mil grant for a 1Malaysia film by controversial rapper and film-maker Namewee.
Showing off the Malaysian government’s intolerance of unconventional and contrary views, Rais Yatim the culture minister told Parliament on Wednesday that Namewee was rejected because he was involved in “activities that went against Malaysian norms and values”. (Namewee has said he will appeal against the government’s move to deprive him of the grant.)
Rais almost made it sound like Namewee’s rap videos were treasonous — not the first or only time a non-conforming Malaysian has been labelled a traitor by hardline conservatives in the ruling party.
The reason given by Rais also shows how far the ruling party is willing to use punitive methods to bring Malaysians into conformity with the rigid conservatism underlying Umno’s racial, cultural and religious values, which the ruling party continually tries to impose on all Malaysians.
Umno’s values, and the government’s notions of “Malaysian norms and values”, remain undefined, undiscussed, and variable, lacking acceptance or even a common understanding among Malaysians.
The government’s use of “norms and values” is only a cover for petty intolerance and a heavy-handed means of forcing a zombie-like conformity on a generation of Malaysians willing to experiment and go further to expand their common cultural horizons.
Conformity will not breed creativity.
Rais Yatim aims to kill Namewee’s spirit, rather, by starving him of the funds to make his film, Nasi Lemak 2.0 based on the 1Malaysia concept being propagated by the government.
In other circumstances it would be described as murder.
Namewee’s video on his experiences in trying to produce a 1Malaysia film.