Martyn See questioned about Singapore Rebel again; new film goes to the censors this week
Wednesday • March 22, 2006
Derrick A Paulo of Today
IT HAS been 10 months since the police opened the case on Singapore Rebel — a documentary on opposition politician Chee Soon Juan — and its director Martyn See, and investigations are still underway.
On Monday, Mr See was called down to the Police Cantonment Complex for a 30-minute interview to "clarify what (he) had said before" to investigators, the 38-year-old told reporters yesterday, at a luncheon with the Foreign Correspondents Association.
It was the third time he had been questioned about his 26-minute movie on Dr Chee, following a report lodged last year by the Board of Film Censors. The Board believes Singapore Rebel is a party political film, and hence, an offence under the Films Act.
Last August, Mr See was asked to surrender his video camera and tapes of the documentary to the police. On Monday, he asked if he could have his equipment back, but was told he had to wait until the "completion of the case".
The police confirmed that Mr See had been interviewed on Monday, but said that it would not comment any further as the matter was still under investigation.
Mr See's latest venture is a 49-minute feature on former journalist Said Zahari, 78, who had been arrested in 1963 by the Government on suspicion of subversive activities. He was detained for 17 years.
The film, Zahari's 17 Years, may be screened at this year's Singapore International Film Festival (Siff), despite what happened to Singapore Rebel last year.
Siff is sending the film to the censorship board for approval this week. Mr See does not believe that his new film would be considered "party political" as it covers a current event, namely the launch of Mr Said's book next month.
The freelance film editor is considering more such documentaries, including one on Chia Thye Poh, who was detained under the Internal Security Act from 1966 to 1989.
"They're getting old. How many more years do they have to live? And their stories have not been documented," said Mr See.
The film-maker said that he made Singapore Rebel to get people interested in political issues.
If Mr See is charged, however, he faces a maximum penalty of two years in jail or a $100,000 fine for making a party political film.