PETALING JAYA, July 21 — A film producer claimed trial at the Magistrates Court here today to the charge of not obtaining a valid licence from the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) for the production and promotion of the movie Babi a year ago.
The 35-year-old film producer, Toh Han Boon was accused of committing the offence at a premises along Jalan PJU 7/8B in Mutiara Damansara, Selangor on November 18, 2020.
According to the charge sheet, Toh allegedly participated in the production and distribution of promotional posters for Babi without an authorised licence from Finas.
The sole charge was framed under Sections 22 (1) of the Finas Act (Act 244), which states that “no person shall engage in any activities of production, distribution or exhibition of films or any combination of those activities as specified in subsection 21(1) unless there is in force a licence authorising him to do the same.”
Under Section 25 of the same Act, it is stated that any person who contravenes any provisions of the part of the law — which includes Section 22(1) — is guilty of an offence.
The same Section 25 provides for a punishment of a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a maximum jail term of two years or both upon conviction.
The accused entered his plea before magistrate Muhammad Iskandar Zainol.
Zamriah Zarifah Aris prosecuted while the accused was represented by lawyer Mohd Haijan Omar.
The prosecution initially offered bail at RM8,000 for the charge, and for the court to confiscate the passport of the accused until the conclusion of the trial.
During mitigation, Mohd Haijan objected to the bail amount offered by the prosecution, arguing that it was unreasonable and punitive for the nature of offence committed.
Muhammad Iskandar later allowed the accused bail of RM5,000 with one surety.
The court also fixed the case for mention on October 14.
Last December, Persatuan Seniman Malaysia (Seniman) lodged a police report against the movie Babi for allegedly having elements of racism that tarnished Malaysia’s image.
The movie depicts school violence that purportedly took place in a secondary school in the southern part of Malaysia in 2000, according to explanatory videos made by Malaysian artiste Wee Meng Chee or Namewee.
Babi received several nominations at international film festivals such as the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan, Bangkok International Film Festival and Around International Film Festival in Berlin, among others.