'Mentega Terbang' producer, director to be charged in court on Jan 17

PETALING JAYA: Tan Meng Kheng and Khairi Anwar Jailani, the producer and director of banned controversial indie movie “Mentega Terbang” are due to be charged in court on Wednesday (Jan 17).

The two were sent summonses on Monday (Jan 15) to appear before a Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court to be charged under Section 298 of the Penal Code for “hurting religious feelings”, several local news portals reported.

Last year, clips from the movie had gone viral, drawing the ire of social media users, who questioned how such a movie was approved for screening.

On March 5, 2023, the then Communications and Digital Ministry instructed the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to take action against the movie producers.

Minister Fahmi Fadzil had said that both agencies were investigating aspects of regulatory infringements by the production team.

After multiple police reports were lodged, Bukit Aman launched an investigation and recorded the statements of the producer and six actors from the movie on March 14.

The case was classified under Section 298A and Section 505(b) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

On Sept 13, 2023, Sinar Harian reported that the Home Ministry had banned the screening and publicity for the indie film.

The ban followed the publication of a government gazette, Film Censorship (Prohibition) Order 2023, that was signed by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and published on Sept 1.

In December, Tan and director Khairi Anwar Jailani filed an application with the High Court to commence a legal challenge against the government over its decision to ban the film.