Legal Charges Against Mentega Terbang Filmmakers Threatens the Essence of Freedom


We, the undersigned, are writing this statement in response to the recent charges brought against Mohd Khairi Anwar Jailani and Tan Meng Kheng, whose recent film ‘Mentega Terbang’ has ignited a conversation around religious issues. It is disheartening to learn that they are facing charges of ‘wounding religious feelings,’ as it goes against the fundamental principles of creative and artistic freedom.

Art has long been a powerful medium for exploring and understanding various facets of our society, including religious beliefs. Artists, through their work, have the ability to provoke thought, challenge norms, and encourage dialogue. The imposition of legal charges against them not only stifles creative expression but also sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the very essence of freedom.

Personal thoughts and expression is a cornerstone of democratic societies, providing individuals the right to express their ideas, beliefs, and perspectives. Artistic creations, in particular, play a crucial role in fostering diversity of thought and promoting understanding among different communities. It is through the exploration of diverse themes, even those that touch on sensitive topics like religion, that societies grow and evolve.

It is imperative to recognize that filmmakers, like all artists, should not bear the responsibility of ensuring their work does not offend or challenge the sensibilities of their audience. Watching films is a voluntary act, and audiences, in turn, should exercise their own discretion when choosing what to engage with. Just as literature, visual art, and music have done throughout history, films have the power to evoke a range of emotions and opinions, and it is the responsibility of the audience to interpret and respond in a manner that is civil and within the boundaries of what is ethical and just. 

If, as a society, we value freedom that has long been fought for by our forefathers, it is essential to emphasize the importance of individual agency and the autonomy of the audience. Rather than imposing restrictions on artistic expression, we should encourage open and constructive dialogue, allowing individuals to engage with diverse perspectives and make informed choices about the media they consume.

As a community that champions creative and artistic freedom, we must stand united in condemning any attempts to place undue restrictions on filmmakers or any artists. Let us celebrate the power of art to challenge, inspire, and provoke thoughtful reflection, trusting in the capacity of audiences to navigate the complex landscape of creative expression with their own discernment.

We urge authorities to reconsider these charges and recognize the importance of fostering an environment that nurtures artistic freedom. Let us embrace the power of art to challenge, inspire, and ultimately unite us in our shared humanity.

Statement written by Badrul Hisham Ismail, film director.

Endorsed by:

  1. A. Samad Hassan, Head of Operations, KLPost
  2. A. Ahmad, Writer, Editor
  3. Aaron Sylvester, Film Student
  4. Abdul Shakir, Digital Artist
  5. Adam Jay (Titikmerah Collective)
  6. Adam Zainal, Film Director
  7. Adeleena Lim, Trauma Therapist
  8. Adriana Nordin Manan, Playwright, Writer
  9. Agilan Sethu, Line Producer
  10. Aiman Imran Bin Mohd Nasrun, Producer
  11. ⁠Aina Marlisa, Writer (Sinema Awan Mendung)
  12. Al Jafre, Film Director, Scriptwriter
  13. Alena Nadia, Journalist
  14. Ali Aiman Mazwin, Copywriter
  15. Ali Alasri, Artist
  16. ⁠Alina Wong, Writer, Director
  17. Aliran (Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara) 
  18. Alison Khor, Arts Practitioner
  19. Amalia S., Film Event Organiser (Indonesia)
  20. Amanda Nell Eu, Filmmaker
  21. Amir Muhammad, Writer, Publisher, Filmmaker
  22. Amy Len, Dance Artist (Kwang Tung Dance Company)
  23. Amy Lim, Producer
  24. Ananth Subramaniam, Film Director
  25. Angelina Marilyn Bok, Film Producer (Singapore)
  26. Anis Majida, Producer, Writer
  27. Anne James, Actress, Educator (Five Arts Centre)
  28. Anwar Johari Ho, Filmmaker (Zi An Pictures)
  29. Arief Hamizan, Theatre Practitioner
  30. Ariff Kamil, Writer
  31. Arts-ED (Persatuan Pendidikan Seni Pulau Pinang)
  32. Au Qian Zheng, DOP
  33. Azizulhakim Salleh, Video Editor
  34. Azmyl Yunor, Singer-songwriter, Educator
  35. Bea Tanaka @ Tan Chooi Bea, Producer
  36. Bernadette Anne Carpio, Actor
  37. Beverly Yong, Arts Worker (RogueArt)
  38. Boyz Chew, Artistic Director (Orang Orang Drum Theatre)
  39. Chacko Vadaketh, Actor, Host, Voiceover, Artist
  40. Chandrawati Abdullah, Producer
  41. Chen Yoke Pin, Arts & Cultural Worker
  42. Chew Kinwah, Actor
  43. Cheyenne Tan, Director, Producer
  44. Chi Too, Arts Worker
  45. Chia Chee Sum, Filmmaker
  46. Chloe Yap Mun Ee, Filmmaker, Video Artist
  47. Choo Mun Bel, Film Producer
  48. Chua Jing Xuan, Filmmaker
  49. Cristy, Freelance Director, Producer, Video Editor
  50. ⁠Dabble Dabble Jer Collective
  51. Dain Said, Film Director
  52. Dania Kamal Aryf, Journalist, writer, poet
  53. Danny Lim, Writer, Journalist
  54. Dato’ Dr. Faridah Merican, Co-Founder, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac)
  55. Dato’ Zahim Albakri, Actor, Director of Film & Theatre
  56. Deena Dakshini, Filmmaker 
  57. Dexter Lee Boon Hui, Film Industry Worker
  58. ⁠⁠Dhinesha Karthigesu, Artistic Director (Theatresauce)
  59. Diffan Norman, Producer, Writer, Director
  60. Dina Zaman, Writer, Co-founder
  61. Dr. Fiona Lee, Academic
  62. Eddie Wong, Artist, Filmmaker
  63. Eleanor Teh Zi Xian, Producer
  64. Elise Shick, Producer
  65. Elroi Yee, Journalist
  66. Eloise Lau, Musician / Writer
  67. Elyna Shukri, Producer/Cultural Worker
  68. ⁠Emily Thomas, (ReformARTsi)
  69. Ethan Yap, Filmmaker
  70. Ezrena Marwan, Cultural Worker
  71. Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, Arts Pracitioner (Five Arts Centre)
  72. Fairuz Sulaiman, Artist (Sekolah Main Wayang)
  73. Fara Omar, Producer
  74. Farah Rani, Actor
  75. Feisal Azizuddin, Filmmaker
  76. Five Arts Centre
  77. Foo Fei Ling, Producer
  78. Foo May Lyn, Art Maker
  79. Freedom Film Network
  80. Fung Chern Hwei, Penggubah Muzik Filem
  81. Gan Siong King, Visual Artist
  82. Gogularaajan Rajendran, Filmmaker
  83. Goh Lee Kwang, Artist
  84. Grace Ng, Actress
  85. Gunung Cherita
  86. Hadi M. Nor, Scriptwriter
  87. Hariati Azizan, Journalist
  88. Hendro Setyo Wibowo, Film Colorist (Indonesia) 
  89. Ho Lee Ching, Theatre Practitioner
  90. Hoe Hui Ting, Company Manager (Five Arts Centre)
  91. Hoo Fan Chon, Visual Artist
  92. Ian Yee, Journalist
  93. Iedil Dzuhrie Alaudin, Actor
  94. In Between Cultura
  95. Instant Cafe Theatre
  96. Ista Kyra, Writer, Editor & Co-Founder (Eksentrika)
  97. Ivy Josiah, Women’s Rights Advocate, Producer (Five Arts Centre)
  98. Ix Wong, Dance Artist
  99. Jackie Liew, Director
  100. Jean Chang, Producer
  101. Jefry Musa, Filmmaker
  102. Jen Nee Lim, Writer, Director (Singapore)
  103. Jentayu
  104. Jillian Ooi, Gamelan Musician (Rhythm in Bronze)
  105. Jo Kukathas, Theatre Maker
  106. Joanna Lee, Producer
  107. Joe Hasham,  Co-Founder, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac)
  108. Juliet Jacobs, Journalist
  109. Junad M. Nor, Director
  110. June Tan, Scriptwriter
  111. Justin Ong, Director
  112. ⁠⁠Kakiseni
  113. Kalash Nanda Kumar, Film Critic, Journalist
  114. Kamini Senthilathiban, Artist (LexisNexis)
  115. Kee Thuan Chye, Actor, Dramatist
  116. Keenen Yong, Lecturer
  117. Kelvin Wong, Theatre Director (Theatresauce)
  118. Ken Kin, Filmmaker
  119. Kenneth Wong, Founder, People Ideas Culture
  120. Khairun Lamb, Director of Photography
  121. Kiew Suet Kim, Theatre Practitioner
  122. Koh Aun Qi, Producer
  123. KOMFIT 
  124. KongsiKL
  125. Kubhaer Jethwani, Filmmaker (Five Arts Centre)
  126. Lau Kek Huat, Filmmaker
  127. Lau Kok Rui, Film Director 
  128. Laura Low, Filmmaker
  129. Lee Ren Xin, Performance Maker
  130. Lee Yve Vonn, Producer
  131. Lena Srinivasan, Filmmaker
  132. Leong Siew Hong, Scriptwriter, Director 
  133. Leow Puay Tin, Playwright
  134. Lian Kian Lek, Creative (Nowhere Kitchen)
  135. Liew Seng Tat, Filmmaker
  136. Liishvaar Jagathes Kumar, Filmmaker
  137. Lim Boon Siang, Screenwriter
  138. Lim Chung Wei, Drama Teacher (Trio Drama Academy)
  139. Lim Han Loong, Filmmaker
  140. Lim Kok Yoong, Academician, Artist
  141. Lim Ying Xian, Producer
  142. Lina Teoh, Documentary Producer
  143. Ling Tang, Artist, Producer
  144. Loganathan Kanabathy, Actor, Editor, Writer, Director
  145. Loh Jo Yee, Producer
  146. Low Pey Sien, 
Cultural Worker
  147. ⁠Luvenia Kalia, Dancer
  148. ⁠⁠Mah Jun Yi, Producer 
  149. Mahen Bala, Filmmaker
  150. Mahi Ramakrishnan, Documentary Filmmaker
  151. Marina Mahathir, Writer
  152. Marina Tan, Writer/Actor/Director
  153. ⁠Marion F. D’Cruz, Performance Maker, Educator (Five Arts Centre)
  154. Mark Teh, Performance Maker (Five Arts Centre)
  155. Martin Vengadesan, Associate Editor (Malaysiakini)
  156. Mary Grace Liew, Filmmaker (Foreground Pictures)
  157. Matthew Ben Low, Photographer/Videographer/Filmmaker
  158. Mee Quin, Filmmaker
  159. Megan Wonowidjoyo, Film director (Singapore)
  160. Meshalini Muniandy, Theatre Worker
  161. Mickey Lai, Filmmaker
  162. Miriam Devaprasana, Writer
  163. Mogan Selvakannu, Documentary Filmmaker
  164. Mohammad Alshatri bin Abdullah, Director /Producer
  165. MoOne Drama
  166. Muqri Azlan, Filmmaker
  167. Nadia Aqilah, Penggiat seni
  168. Nadira Ilana, Filmmaker
  169. Nadirah Zakariya, Visual Artist
  170. Namron, Actor, Director
  171. Nandita Solomon, Film Worker
  172. Nik Amir Mustapha, Producer/ Director
  173. Noor Anwar Hadi bin Noor Azman, Scriptwriter
  174. Nora Nabila, Filmmaker
  175. Nur Amalia binti Mohd Azmi, Producer
  176. Octo, Artist
  177. Okui Lala, Arts and Culture Worker
  178. Omar Ali, Arts Practitioner
  179. Othman Hafsham, Director
  180. ⁠Palani Veloo, Director/Editor
  181. Persatuan Penulis Berbilang Bahasa (PEN Malaysia)
  182. Peta Khan, Producer, Maitree House
  183. Philip Chai, Theatre Practitioner 
  184. Pun Kai Loon, Artistic Director
  185. Rachel Yeoh, Writer
  186. Rafidah Abdullah, Scriptwriter
  187. Rahmah Pauzi, Filmmaker
  188. Raja Adam Iskandar, Filmmaker (Arja Films)
  189. Rashid Karim, Film & TV professional
  190. Ravi Navaratnam (Five Arts Centre)
  191. Razlan Saharudin, Producer (Denhouse)
  192. Redza Minhat, Writer, Actor
  193. ReformARTsi
  194. Riani Singgih, Producer (Indonesia)
  195. Rimbun Dahan
  196. Roshan Ravi, Producer
  197. Rosheen Fatima Mutalip, Arts Practitioner
  198. Rupa Subramaniam, Artist, Organiser
  199. Saidah Rastam, Artist
  200. Sanjna Selva, Director/Producer
  201. Seksan, Landscape Architect
  202. Shamaine Othman, Writer, Comedian
  203. Shamila Othman, PR Manager
  204. Shamyl Othman, Director
  205. Shaq Koyok, Artist, Activist
  206. Sharmilla Ganesan, Culture Writer & Critic
  207. Sharon Chin, Artist
  208. Sharon Chong, Video Editor
  209. Shawna Scully, Drama Student
  210. Sheau Yun, Writer
  211. Sherman Ong, Filmmaker, Visual Artist
  212. Shufitri Mohd Shukardi, Performer, Visual Artist
  213. Shufiyan Shukor, Video Producer
  214. Simon Soon, Academic
  215. Siring Siring Production
  216. Sofea Izrin Lee, Writer
  217. Soh Chong Hong (CloudJoi)
  218. Stagebox Ventures
  219. Suhaila Merican (Five Arts Centre)
  220. Sukhbir Cheema, Writer & Co-Founder (Eksentrika)
  221. Sunitha Janamohanan, Arts Manager, Educator
  222. Susie Kukathas, Producer
  223. Suzanne Ong, Scriptwriter
  224. Svara
  225. Syalikh Nazrul, Filmmaker
  226. Taha Long, Filmmaker (Tapir Studio)
  227. Tan Bee Hung, Dance Practitioner
  228. ⁠Tan Cher Kian, Producer
  229. Teck Tan, Producer, Director (Spinning Gasing)
  230. Teo Wey Yinn, Filmmaker, Composer
  231. Terence Toh, Author, Writer
  232. The Cooler Lumpur Festival
  233. ⁠⁠Theatresauce
  234. Thiyagu Govindan, Filmmaker
  235. Tung Jit Yang, Theatremaker
  236. Umi Salwana Omar, Director
  237. Usen Leong, Senior Lecturer (NEUC)
  238. Uthaya Sankar SB,  Writer, Researcher
  239. Woo Ming Jin, Filmmaker
  240. Wong Poh Yoke, Freelance documentary filmmaker
  241. Wyn Hee, Theatre Producer (Stagebox Ventures)
  242. Yap Sau Bin, Visual Arts Curator
  243. Yasu Tanaka, Director, Writer
  244. Yati Kaprawi, Artist, Documentary Filmmaker
  245. Yee Heng Yeh, Writer
  246. Yong Keenen, Lecturer (MMU)
  247. Zaid Zolkiffli, Creative director
  248. Zan Azlee, Documentary Filmmaker
  249. Zarul Al Bakri, Producer
  250. Zyee Leow, Performer (Orang Orang Drum Theatre)

Penyokong lain:

  1. Adam Aznan, Communications Officer
  2. Alif, Student
  3. Bo Chi Chian, Pupil-in-Chambers
  4. Demokratik UK, Gabungan Pelajar Malaysia di UK
  5. Derrick Teoh Yung Chen, Student
  6. Hasbe, Social sector
  7. Kjjohn, Board Member
  8. Lim Chaw Zen, Peguam
  9. Maheshwari A/P Manogaran, Student
  10. Masjaliza Hamzah, Social activist
  11. Rasa, Sped Teacher
  12. Rozana Isa, Executive Director
  13. Samj, Pegawai
  14. Subatra Jayaraj, Film enthusiast
  15. WITNESS, Non-Profit Organisation

Related News & Stories