KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Former education minister Maszlee Malik has joined a growing chorus calling for clarification from Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah for all film producers to get a licence from the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) prior to releasing their content.
Maszlee said he had been approached by teachers and lecturers who were concerned with the production of video material as part of their educational material, a rising trend in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s imposition of a movement control order (MCO) that started in March and has only recently been relaxed with classroom teaching resumed.
“Teachers and lecturers who are actively involved in e-learning produce their own videos for teaching purposes and are published on their personal social media platforms.
“Since the movement control order was enforced most teachers are producing videos to help in their daily lessons with students,” he told reporters in Parliament this afternoon.
Earlier during Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat, Saifuddin made a sweeping statement that all producers, whether mainstream media or personal entities, must obtain a Film Production License and Film Shooting Certificate (SPP) from Finas before filming.
The minister said the Finas Act 1981 requires film producers to give it prior notice seven days before filming, adding that it also applied for content released on social media platforms.
Maszlee who is Simpang Renggam MP urged Saifuddin to clarify his statement and “be wary of blanket decisions like this”.
“This decision may even hinder the creative film industry and youths who expressing their creativity through these platforms,” Maszlee added.
The licensing remark was made in the wake of a controversial documentary by Qatari news agency Al Jazeera titled Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown aired on July 3 which drew condemnation from Malaysian government officials who claimed it was a biased and misleading portrayal of the treatment of migrant workers in the country during the MCO.