Malaysia’s national film awards ceremony, Festival Filem Malaysia ke-28 (FFM28), has drawn ire from netizens and the creative industry alike after unveiling this year’s nominees today.

Now in its 28th year, not only did FFM choose to keep the “Filem Terbaik Bukan Di Dalam Bahasa Melayu” category (Best Non-Bahasa Melayu Film category) despite award-winning actress and producer Erma Fatima calling it out to be irrelevant at the awards last year, the board also decided to snub “Jagat” and “Ola Bola” altogether when they put the movies under the “Filem Terbaik Bukan Di Dalam Bahasa Melayu” category and not the “Filem Terbaik FFM28” category (“Best Film of FFM28” category).

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2015’s “Jagat” is a Tamil language crime drama movie directed by Shanjhey Kumar Perumal. Now considered as one of the best Tamil language movie made in Malaysia, it was also Shanjhey’s debut film. “Jagat” starred a real-life orphan and managed to gross RM220,000 at the box office, and later became the first Tamil language Malaysian movie to screen in cinemas for 8 weeks running.

“Ola Bola”, on the other hand, featured a “muhibbah” cast of Chinese, Malay, and Indian actors and actresses, and the script included various the 3 main languages in Malaysia as well as some Chinese dialects. Directed by Chiu Keng Guan (of “The Journey” fame), the film opened to 120 theatres across Malaysia and earned approximately RM2.5 million for the first 4 days of its release. By the 39th day, “Ola Bola” collected more than RM16 million at the local box office.

Both “Jagat” and “Ola Bola” received rave reviews from moviegoers.

The movies’ “absence” from the “Filem Terbaik FFM28” category left vacancies for other entries such as “Mat Moto – Kami Mat Moto Bukan Mat Rempit” and “Munafik”, both of which are SKOP Production releases. “Mat Moto – Kami Mat Moto Bukan Mat Rempit” reportedly collected RM3 million at the box office after 4 days of its release while horror flick “Munafik” raked in RM17 million after 26 days of screening at the cinemas.

Netizens, however, aren’t having any of it. They’ve taken to Facebook to slam FFM’s decision to segregate the films based on language, starting with writer association PENULIS (Persatuan Penulis Lakon Layar Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor).

In an English Facebook post, PENULIS called FFM out to be racist for allowing the categorisation of “Best Non-Bahasa Melayu” films in the awards despite claiming to represent the Malaysian film industry.

In a separate Bahasa Melayu Facebook post, PENULIS also questioned FINAS Malaysia and Persatuan Penerbit Filem Malaysia’s (PFM) standing in fostering the spirit of unity in Malaysian cinema, and their responsibility to embody the 1Malaysia concept recommended by the Malaysian government.

“This is a Malaysian film festival, not a Malay film festival!”

Check out the full list of nominees below:

FILEM TERBAIK FFM28
NOTA
POLIS EVO
MUNAFIK
MAT MOTO – KAMI MAT MOTO BUKAN MAT REMPIT
JEJAK WARRIORS

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FILEM TERBAIK BUKAN DI DALAM BAHASA MALAYSIA
OLA BOLA
MARAVAN
JAGAT
HUAT THE FISH
THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE

PENGARAH TERBAIK FFM28
GHAZ ABU BAKAR / POLIS EVO
SAW TEONG HIN / JEJAK WARRIORS
SHAMYL OTHMAN / REMBAT
SYAMSUL YUSOF / MUNAFIK
WAN HASLIZA WAN ZAINUDDIN / LOVE SUPERMOON

PENGARAH TERBAIK (FILEM BUKAN DI DALAM BAHASA MALAYSIA)
CHIU KENG GUAN / OLA BOLA
JESS TEONG / THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE
PUVANENDRAN SELVARAJA / MARAVAN
SHANJHEY KUMAR PERUMAL / JAGAT
YEE KWAN HUAH & SILVER / HUAT THE FISH

PENGARAH BAHARU TERBAIK
FEROZ KADER / SUAMIKU ENCIK PERFECT 10
PEKIN IBRAHIM / MAT MOTO – KAMI MAT MOTO BUKAN MAT REMPIT
SHANJHEY KUMAR PERUMAL / JAGAT
JESS TEONG / THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE
DAVEN RAGHAVAN / CCTV

PELAKON WANITA TERBAIK
LISA SURIHANI / SUAMIKU ENCIK PERFECT
MAYA KARIN / NOTA
MAYA KARIN / JWANITA
NABILA HUDA / MUNAFIK
NADIYA NISAA / LOVE SUPERMOON

PELAKON BAHARU WANITA TERBAIK
FALISHA CROSLEY / MAT MOTO – KAMI MAT MOTO BUKAN MAT REMPIT
MARIANNE TAN / OLA BOLA
NUR RISTEENA / GIRLFRIEND KONTRAK
RAJA ILYA / SUAMIKU ENCIK PERFECT
ZARA ZYA / REMBAT

PELAKON LELAKI TERBAIK
AARON AZIZ / SUAMIKU ENCIK PERFECT
ANIU / REMBAT
PEKIN IBRAHIM / MAT MOTO – KAMI MAT MOTO BUKAN MAT REMPIT
SHAHEIZY SAM / POLIS EVO
ZIZAN RAZAK / POLIS EVO

PELAKON BAHARU LELAKI TERBAIK
ADAM SHAHZ / JUVANA 2 – TERPERANGKAP DALAM KEBEBASAN
CHE AMAR / CHOWRASTA
KEITH FOO / GIRLFRIEND KONTRAK
MAS KHAN / BIASAN
SARAN KUMAR / OLA BOLA

PELAKON PEMBANTU WANITA TERBAIK
ADELINE TSEN / GAMATISME
AMINAH RHAPOR / CHOWRASTA
ANNE NGASRI / LOVE SUPERMOON
CHRISTINA SUZANNE / JWANITA
FAUZIAH DATO’ AHMAD DAUD / LANGIT CINTA

PELAKON PEMBANTU LELAKI TERBAIK
RAMLI HASSAN / NOTA
AZAD JAZMIN / GIRLFRIEND KONTRAK
HASNUL RAHMAT / JUVANA 2 – TERPERANGKAP DALAM KEBEBASAN
HUSHAIRI HUSAIN / POLIS EVO
SRI BALASUBRAMANIAM / OLA BOLA

PELAKON KANAK-KANAK TERBAIK
ALIFF FIRDAUS / JEJAK WARRIORS
HARVIND RAJ / JAGAT
RYQAL ISKANDAR / CICAKMAN 3
SHIVATHARAN NAMBIAR / OLA BOLA
TAN QIN LIN / THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE

CERITA ASAL TERBAIK
OLA BOLA
REMBAT
MAT MOTO – KAMI MAT MOTO BUKAN MAT REMPIT
JAGAT
THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE

LAKON LAYAR TERBAIK FFM28
NOTA
SUAMIKU ENCIK PERFECT
POLIS EVO
MAT MOTO – KAMI MAT MOTO BUKAN MAT REMPIT
LOVE SUPERMOON

LAKON LAYAR TERBAIK (FILEM BUKAN DI DALAM BAHASA MALAYSIA)
OLA BOLA
THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE
HUAT THE FISH
MARAVAN
JAGAT

SINEMATOGRAFI TERBAIK
POLIS EVO
BRAVO 5
MUNAFIK
MAT MOTO – KAMI MAT MOTO BUKAN MAT REMPIT
JAGAT

PENYUNTING TERBAIK
OLA BOLA
JAGAT
THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE
POLIS EVO
MUNAFIK

PENATAAN SENI TERBAIK
JAGAT
BRAVO 5
OLA BOLA
HUAT THE FISH
THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE

PENATAAN BUNYI TERBAIK
REMBAT
POLIS EVO
MUNAFIK
MAT MOTO – KAMI MAT MOTO BUKAN MAT REMPIT
VILLA NABILA

KESAN VISUAL KHAS TERBAIK
KAPSUL
OLA BOLA
MUNAFIK
CICAKMAN 3
THE NOISE

PEREKA KOSTUM/BUSANA TERBAIK
OLA BOLA
CICAKMAN 3
BRAVO 5
THE KID FROM THE BIG APPLE
POLIS EVO

SKOR MUZIK ASAL TERBAIK
CHOWRASTA
JWANITA
PILOT CAFÉ
OLA BOLA
MUNAFIK

LAGU TEMA ASAL TERBAIK
NUR ZAIDI ABD RAHMAN – LANGIT CINTA (DAYANG NURFAIZAH)
SYAMSUL YUSOF – KALAH DALAM MENANG (SYAMSUL YUSOF & MAWI)
EDRY ABDUL HALIM – ADIWIRA (ZIZAN RAZAK & KRU)
NUR ZAIDI ABD RAHMAN – UNTUK CINTA (DAYANG NURFAIZAH)
ZEE AVI & RENDRA ZAWAWI – ARENA CAHAYA (ZEE AVI)

What are your thoughts on the above issue? Do you think that FFM should do away with the “Filem Terbaik Bukan Di Dalam Bahasa Melayu” category (Best Non-Bahasa Melayu Film category)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Sources: The Daily Seni, PENULIS.

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Lainey
Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.