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'Political indoctrination': PN slams Anwar movie screening for students

Indera Mahkota MP Saifuddin Abdullah urges the education ministry to address the matter in the Dewan Rakyat.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
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Screenshots from a clip showing PKR's William Leong in a cinema hall in Rawang, Selangor urging the audience to chant 'reformasi'.
Screenshots from a clip showing PKR's William Leong in a cinema hall in Rawang, Selangor urging the audience to chant 'reformasi'.

Perikatan Nasional (PN) today hit out at the invitation to Form 6 students at a school in Putrajaya to watch the propaganda film "Anwar: The Untold Story" together with Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, calling it a form of political indoctrination.

Indera Mahkota MP Saifuddin Abdullah said it is not wrong for any minister to invite anyone to a film screening.

"However, the choice of a film must be relevant. There should be a reason why it should be watched, and this does not include that film," he said at a press conference in the Parliament today.

Yesterday, a letter to Form 6 students of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Presint 5(1) in Putrajaya inviting them to watch the film together with the education minister went viral. "Anwar: The Untold Story" is an Indonesian film produced by cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, better known as Zunar, about the political crisis between Anwar and Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1998.

The film, which reportedly collected RM1 million on its first day of screening, was shrouded in controversy when a flurry of free tickets was given out to those who wanted to watch it.

The film's producer had previously claimed that cinemas were sabotaging the biopic, an allegation which the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors has since disputed.

Saifuddin, who also heads PN's education committee, submitted a question to Fadhlina during the Minister's Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today regarding the film screening held for students.

The question, however, went unanswered, despite having been received by the house.

Saifuddin also questioned why only Form 6 students were invited to the screening.

"Is it because the storyline is suitable for a specific subject in Form 6, or is it because they are eligible to vote?"

Saifuddin then called out the Pakatan Harapan government for using education as a form of political indoctrination. He also raised reports on the Community Communication Department's activities at a school in Baling, Kedah.

"The question now is whether the government is using students to spread cheap propaganda. This goes against the harmony of schools, which are supposed to be politically neutral institutions," he said.

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