Controversial rapper and film director Namewee has returned to Malaysia from Taiwan after seven months, announcing he will surrender himself over to the police after his seven-day mandatory quarantine.
Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, said in a Facebook post on Sunday (14 Mar) that he was taken by Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) police as soon as he cleared immigration.
He said that a red light flashed when he entered his passport, indicating that he’s a wanted person. He was then taken to the airport police station and was detained for two hours.
“Many came up to me to take photos and asked where they can watch the movie ‘Babi’,” he jokingly said in the post.
Namewee also stated that he had made an appointment with police and would self-surrender at Bukit Aman after completing his quarantine.
According to Free Malaysia Today, Namewee went to Taiwan in July last year and attended a music awards ceremony where he was a nominee for Song of the Year.
Namewee has said he would not screen the film in Malaysia or apply for permission for the film to be screened in Malaysia as “there are too many shameless extremists” in the country.
Perikatan Nasional Youth member Mohammad Azwan Azmi had also lodged a police report regarding the film poster on the grounds of stoking racial sensitivities.
Mohammad Azwan said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) should block access to content related to the film through Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Malay Mail reported that Persatuan Seniman Malaysia (Seniman) in December had also lodged a police report against the film.
Its secretary-general Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nafiah was quoted as saying that based on the video clips that he watched, he personally felt that the film “contained elements of racism, despite claims that it was based on a true story”.
Netizens on Facebook, however, has been praising Namewee’s action on coming back to Malaysia, despite police reports against him and his film.
One commenter question why his talent was “not praised despite being nominated for many international awards”.
Many others opined that the focus should be on the message of the film, which is racism in the country.
Some also said that people do not understand the purpose of the film — to actually combat racism — with another saying that the film is not meant for the “weak-minded”.
Several others managed to highlight the main theme of the film, which was racism, with one user stating that the film is “not racist, but discusses the issue of racism”, and the “authorities are just in denial of it”.
A number of commenters also pointed out racism in politics, criticising political figures for allegedly spreading racist agendas on social media but punishing artists when they spread their ideas on the issue.
One user also commented on how many people are disturbed by the title of the film while “blatant corruption is ignored”.
A number of commenters also were amused about the film being under investigation when it is not even scheduled for release in Malaysia.