KOTA KINABALU: The surge of interest in Sabah displayed by movie makers augurs well for tourism promotion efforts, said Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew.
Speaking to reporters at the Sabah screening of RISE Inikalilah on Sunday, she said : “As a minister in charge of tourism, I support and encourage more Malaysian film makers to come to Sabah for more home-grown production of movies such as the remarkable RISE Inikalilah.
“We have talked about ecotourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism, historical tourism, sports tourism, golf tourism, war tourism and what have you, and now we have a relatively new dimension – promoting Sabah through movie making, yet another mode of wooing more tourists to the State.”
Saying she has met with producers from Peninsular Malaysia, China and Hong Kong of late, Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, hoped the media would highlight the work of the film makers.
The 100-minute film produced by WebTVAsia was screened for the minister, ministry officials, producer Fred Chong’s teachers who have made him who he is today, his classmates and other invited guests.
Also present was Luyang assemblyman Ginger Phoong.
Liew urged all Malaysians in Sabah not to miss the chance to watch this movie when it is screened on Malaysia Day (September 16).
She said it is a reminder of what Malaysians and Sabahans in particular went through under the previous government, adding it was a very difficult time, especially for PKR in Sabah, but thank God, they succeeded.
On a personal note, the minister said the movie brought back memories of her 20-year political struggle dating back to 1999 when PKR spread its wings to Sabah and she contested the now defunct Gaya parliamentary seat on the party’s ticket in 2002.
Liew described the struggle as a long and tortuous one for justice and true democracy to prevail, and above all, for good governance for the people.
“RISE Inikalilah is a historical movie because it catches the events prior to May 9 this year. It marks the birth of a new nation, a new Malaysia after 61 years of Barisan Nasional (BN) rule.
“It shows the euphoria on the night of May 9 following the unprecedented electoral victory when the people spoke out loud and clear for the ultimate change of government,” she said.
Watching the unfolding of events in the movie, Liew became emotional “as if I re-lived those days when we were the Opposition and subjected to political persecution.”
“I couldn’t help it when I viewed what happened, especially what the previous regime did to us. I was directly involved in the pioneering years and it was a long hard journey for us to finally overthrow the BN government,” she added.
Earlier, Chong said the “real heroes” are the people who had fought for so many years for the country and Sabah in particular.
“This special film is a tribute to the real heroes here,” he said.
As a Sabahan, he is proud to bring back a very patriotic film about our country and show it to Sabahans.
“What happened is that we just had the biggest historical event ever in Malaysia which was the 14th General Election (GE14). As a film maker, I wanted to document this momentous moment through a film.
“But I do not want to make it too political at the same time, so I created multiple Malaysian characters to show how ordinary Malaysians from different walks of life actually came together and created history for the country.
“So that is what this film is about,” he said.
According to Chong, after the film was shot, there were comments that this Malaysian film somehow forgot about East Malaysia (as usual).
“For this reason, I created a very important character in the film, especially for Sabah.
At the same time, I got my friend Katak Chua (president of the Kota Kinabalu Film and Video Association (KKFVA) to shoot additional footage in Kota Kinabalu.”
He also brought in Mark, one of the members of the cast, saying the story will not be complete with a foreign character “to see what Malaysia is all about during this historical moment (GE14).”