KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — The producer of RTM telemovie Demi Tuhan Aku Bersaksi has denied any attempt to paint a negative perception of tahfiz schools, where students learn Quran memorisation.
Fadzil Zahari was reported as saying that it is unfair for the public to judge his work before it is even aired, insisting that the show is about a transwoman who find “repentance” in a tahfiz school instead.
“The drama is not promoting LGBT, but instead is about the journey of a ‘mak nyah’ who repents and finds a way to get closer to God. The place [she] headed for to better [herself] is a tahfiz school,” he was quoted as saying by Malay tabloid Kosmo!
“Mak nyah” is the Malay term for a transwoman. LGBT refers to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
RTM had previously defended the film, saying it is laden with positive message and reflects the reality faced in Malaysian society.
The Department of Broadcasting Malaysia was also quoted as saying the film is under review.
This comes as several Muslim groups are urging federal Islamic agency Jakim and the National Fatwa Council to watch the film before it is aired, claiming it is part of an attempt to smear Islamic institution.
“Their action has spread hatred and inflamed the anger of certain race and religion,” said a group calling itself the Islamic Education NGO Action Committee.
Mohd Zahid Mahmood from tahfiz school alliance called PINTA has also urged such screening, claiming that Islam must be protected due to its position in the Federal Constitution.
Produced by Prokuya Studios, the film stars Syafie Naswip, Fezrul Khan, Ismail Yaacob, Taiyuddin Bakar, Sheila Mambo, and Arman Graseka.
Syafie is said to play a “former transwoman” who enters a tahfiz school, only to be harassed and verbally assaulted as a sinner for her past.
Sexual abuse in tahfiz schools are frequently reported in local media. Most recently in May, a tahfiz hostel warden was sentenced to 228 years in jail and 42 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to 25 counts of sodomy and gross indecency against five students.