Tanda Putera – Height of criminal and anti-national irresponsibility for anyone to concoct the spurious urination incident as one of the purported causes provoking the May 13, 1969 riots

It is the height of criminal and anti-national irresponsibility for anyone to concoct the spurious urination incident as one of the purported causes provoking the May 13, 1969 riots, especially in a film funded with taxpayers’ money, when it is completely fictional with no factual basis in any historical material, whether documentation or photographic.

This is because such a spurious and fictitious incident depicting a young Chinese man urinating in front of the Selangor Mentri Besar’s official residence provoking the May 13, 1969 riots, is highly incendiary and inflammatory in a plural society like Malaysia, and could gravely undermine and threaten inter-racial relations and harmony and even inflame and incite inter-racial hatred and conflict completely inimical to nation-building efforts to promote inter-racial peace, goodwill and harmony.

No excuse of “creative licence” could justify such an irresponsible, criminal and anti-national act.

Although Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, director of the movie “Tanda Putra”, has admitted that the film is a fictional account of events surrounding the May 13 racial riots, she must specifically admit that the “urination” episode in front of the Selangor Mentri Besar’s official residence as one of the causes of provocation of the May 13, 1969 racial riots is a complete figment of her imagination and that no definition of “creative licence” could justify such irresponsible, incendiary and anti-national act.

Shuhaimi who prides herself as “the original founder of horror films” after directing a Pontianak film must not regard “Tanda Putra” as belonging to the genre of “ghost films” she had directed in the past, giving her total “creative licence” to create any fictitious scenes that caught her fancy, totally reckless about their adverse consequences on inter-racial relations in the country.

Shuhaimi has said that it was I myself who took offence at the urination scene and felt that the scene depicted me.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I was in Sabah on July 20 last year on a three-day visit with DAP MP for Segambut Lim Lip Eng when Malaysiakini reported on the “Tanda Putera” film, which stated:

One apparent scene was that of DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang purportedly urinating on a flagpole in front of the then-Selangor menteri besar’s residence.

“Lim Kit Siang telah kencing di bawah tiang bendera Selangor yang terpacak di rumah menteri besar Selangor ketika itu, Harun Idris, (Lim Kit Siang had urinated at the foot of the flagpole bearing the Selangor flag at the then Selangor MB’s Harun Idris’ house)” read the caption of a photo of the actor portraying Lim being manhandled.

The photo was posted in the album titled ‘Peristiwa-peristiwa yang dimuatkan di dalam filem ini’ (Events depicted in this movie).

However, the photo and caption has since been removed from the movie’s official page, though Malaysiakini had captured a screenshot of the earlier posting.

Those in the industry who have watched the movie in a special preview on Wednesday to focus groups also said that no urinating scene was included in the preview cut.

There was also no mention of the scene in the movie’s script, a copy of which was obtained by Malaysiakini.

I issued an immediate rebuttal in Sabah reiterating that I was never in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13 of 1969 and that the photograph used in the movie’s earlier Facebook was not a photograph taken in 1969 but from a different incident in Sabah 15 years later in 1984.

An eye-witness, Ahmad Habib, who was then a second year undergraduate student at Institut Teknologi Mara (ITM) and was at the Selangor Mentri Besar’s residence during the May 13, 1969 riots, has said that such an “urination” incident was impossible as the flagpole was inside a heavily-guarded compound of the Selangor Mentri Besar.

It is a mystery why the “urination” episode is so central to Shuhaimi’s “Tanda Putera” movie although it has no factual basis whatsoever.

Shuhaimi has said that the movie “Tanda Putra” showed the friendship between two leaders, then prime minister Tun Abdul Razak and his deputy, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, and how they faced the challenge of developing the country while battling racial tensions and their health problems.

I have not seen the movie and am therefore in no position to make any comments.

It would however be very sad and pathetic if Shuhaimi’s latest film is remembered as the “urination” film because of the irresponsible and criminal lie about the fictitious “urination” episode which has overshadowed the rest of the film and subject-matter.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah