28 Mar – Malaysian filmmaker and popular YouTube personality Namewee is seeking for a RM3.5 million compensation for his film "Banglasia" which had been banned in Malaysia back in 2014 due to its content.
Namewee said that before he started shooting the film, he had first sent the script to the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) and received approval from them.
However, after he finished producing the film which had cost him RM3.5 million to make, "Banglasia" was banned from any form of screening in Malaysia.
Now, according to The China Press, the director is seeking compensation for the RM3.5 million that he has lost.
Back in January 2014, "Banglasia" had received 31 official notes from the Malaysian Censorship Board citing why the movie is unsuitable for local audiences.
According to Namewee, he would have had to reshoot 90 percent of the film to meet approval standards, therefore, due to the overwhelming changes required, Namewee had decided to scrap the film completely.
"I was found wearing a t-shirt with the sentence 'Save Malaysia' on it. They said we're not allowed to mention 'Save Malaysia' because it shows that Malaysia is 'unsafe'. It appeared as an insult to the country, and therefore it has to be re-shot. Bear in mind, I wore the same t-shirt throughout the movie," said Namewee.
The filmmaker also touched on another remark made by the Censorship Board of "Banglasia" including too many foreign nationals in the film.
"If you've been to Kota Raya, you'll know it's a place full of foreign labours. There were too many Bangladeshi customers in the shops and streets in one scene. There were also too many Bangladeshi workers. It's doesn't reflect the real Malaysian country, so it needs to be removed. Does that make sense?" said Namewee.
Recent comments made by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi last week, said that "Banglasia" was banned because it contains elements which mocks national security, including the Lahad Datu intrusion and it also promotes LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender).
In December 2015, Namewee ran a global fundraising campaign on the American public-benefit corporation platform, Kickstarter to release the film in Malaysia, but it had failed to collect the amount it was aiming for, collecting only USD186,468 from the targeted USD500,000.
According to Kickstarter rules, if a campaign fails to meet its monetary goal by the set deadline, then the campaign would be automatically forfeited and all funds collected thus far will be returned to the donors.
Despite not being showed in its own homeland, "Banglasia" was screened at several film festivals including the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2015 (OAFF), New York Asian Film Festival 2015 (NYAFF) and the Singapore International Film Festival 2015 (SGIFF).