The Last Communist (Lelaki Komunist Terakhir)
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Film Video
Artist: Amir Muhammad, director of The Last Communist
Confronting Bodies: Berita Harian, conservative Malaysian newspaper; Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, home minister of Malaysia; Home Affairs Ministry (oversees Censorship Board)
Date of Action: May 2006
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Description of Artwork: The documentary, The Last Communist, depicts the life of the exiled Communist leader, Chin Peng. Amir Muhammad filmed much of the documentary in villages where Chin Peng used to live. The documentary is accompanied by musical parodies of songs from British films about the empire, patriotism and national identity. Also, the film does not include any photographs of Chin Peng, only a cartoon.
The Incident: Initially, the Home Affairs Ministry approved the screening of the film in Malaysia. The Special Branch of the police also did not object to the film after screening it. However, before the opening of the film, Berita Harian, a conservative periodical, published different articles criticizing the film. Then on May 5, 2006, the Home Affairs Ministry retracted its approval of the film. The Home Minister said that the film did not accurately portray Chin Peng because of the lack of violence which could create a misconception about the former leader.
Results of Incident: Amir Muhammed wants to open a publishing house and is filming a sequel to The Last Communist.