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The Last Days Of Malay Film Productions

But with the arrival of television in 1963 and the dominance of films from Hollywood, Hongkong, India and Philippines, audiences for Malay films declined.

What made the situation worse was the loss of the Indonesian market due to the Confrontation. By this time, stars like P.Ramlee and Sarimah shifted their interest to the Malayan mainland. The studio of choice there was the KL based Merdeka Studios or Studio A owned by H M Shah and Ho Ah Loke.

By 1965, strikes and demonstrations by studio employees and artists demanding ever higher wages caused Jalan Ampas studios to shut down temporarily.

When the studios reopened, the Shaws made a concerted effort to revive local productions. They filmed their most expensive full colour Malay movie ever - Raja Bersiong - in 1966. It was directed by Jamil Sulong and written by Malaysia's first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. That same year, the Shaws took over Medeka Studios and began shifting production work there. But production at Medeka Studios could never replicate the spectacular pace set in pre-1963 Jalan Ampas.

One such event took the form of KLM's inaugural DC-8 flight from Singapore to Amsterdam in 1961.

Sa'adiah, a popular Shaw star was engaged to fly with the crew as a celebrity guest. Touring Holland and Italy for 6 days, Sa'adiah left radio interviews in the various cities she visited. In the same year, Hasimah Yon and Normadiah made headline news when they flew to the Congo to entertain Malayan Special Forces who were serving there.

By 1967, the non performing last two films from Jalan Ampas - Raja Bersiong and A-Go-Go - proved to be the last straw. After over 160 films, Jalan Ampas ceased production for good.

 

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