A recent film created by Malaysian director and rapper-singer Wee Meng Chee, popularly known as Namewee, has been receiving many contrasting reactions.
The film, which is said to depict a real life racial conflict that took place in 2002, holds the title “Babi”, meaning “pig” in Bahasa Malaysia. Additionally, the movie’s poster also shows other discriminatory words that have been turning heads and raising voices – especially by those in the Malaysian government.
According to the director, “Babi” is based on a true story about students from a multi-racial school. The students are said to have waged a race-war against each other, where the conflict turns fatally violent. However, the incident was never reported or spoken about as the government allegedly covered it up.
Since Namewee talks about difficult topics through his film, it was no surprise when it gained backlash for its storyline, title and even its poster.
According to the hip-hop artist, the film is already banned in Malaysia, while FMT additionally reported that the Federal Territory Perikatan Nasional (PN) Youth have now lodged a police report against the movie’s poster as well.
The Federal Territory PN Youth information unit member Mohammad Azwan Azmi lodged a police report at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters yesterday morning (19th November). The police report was made against the movie’s poster because it contained racial slurs, such as “Melayu Bodoh”, “India Keling” and “Cina Babi”.
Azmi also stated that his party had asked the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block the content related to the film on Namewee’s Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts, in order to restrict Malaysians from accessing it.
“This insult and provocation is seen as outrageous and is a rude and insolent act. We fear it can cause interracial tension in Malaysia,” stated Azmi.
While Namewee’s latest release is gaining negative criticism locally, the film has been internationally acclaimed in multiple parts of the world.
The 37-year-old’s new film is his most successful thus far, securing nominations at the Berlin International Film Festival, Bangkok International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and also the renowned Golden Horse Awards.
Other movies directed by Namewee include “Banglasia”, “Nasi Lemak 2.0”, “Hantu Gangster”, “Kara King”, and a short film called “The Game of Las Vegas”. From these, the original version of “Banglasia” was also banned in Malaysia.
Watch the trailer for “Babi” here: