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Staged water shortage filmed in secret in PJ

Staged water shortage filmed in secret in PJ

Dry taps advert? More like ‘Wag the Dog’

Residents cry foul over ‘dry taps’ ad shoot

* Zulaikha Zulkifli
* 1:04PM Sep 24, 2012

An advertisement that is allegedly an effort to portray water shortages in Selangor was filmed in secrecy at an apartment block in Petaling Jaya today.

Although residents of the apartment blocks in Section 17 were aware that the shoot was related to the topic of water shortage, none had a clear idea about the actual nature of the ad being filmed.

NONE When asked, several extras including residents involved in the shoot told Malaysiakini that all they know from the production company is that they will receive RM50 for their participation.

Apart from this, they have not received any other information regarding the ad.

“I am very convinced that this is a conspiracy. When we asked (the filmmakers) for details, they claim they don’t know.

“But they are asking residents and extras, who are paid RM50, to carry pails to depict a water shortage in our area,” said a resident Dr S Paramananthan.

When met on location today, the producers were tight-lipped about details of the television commercial, curtly replying that they had to uphold client confidentiality.

NONE “It’s an ad about a saving water campaign. More than that I cannot reveal. I hope you will all respect my job,” said producer Cheong Wai Leng.

When pressed why a save-water campaign video would entail showing masses queueing at a water truck, she refused to reply.

“I cannot reveal (the details of the filming). Otherwise we will be sued by the client. We are only contractors and we have all kinds of clients.

“This is not the first time we have done filming for an advertisement.”

Malaysiakini, who was there following a complaint from a resident, was initially barred by the production team from entering the filming area or take photographs of the filming.

The team also expressly forbade Malaysiakini to report on the matter.

Later, residents digruntled with the shoot invited Malaysiakini and other media organisations into the filming area saying they had the right to do so.

‘No water shortage’

NONE From observations since 7am today, roughly 200 residents had been recruited as extras.

One of the scenes seen being shot was a large crowd queueing to receive water from a water supply lorry.

They were instructed to “shout” and hold up their pails during the scene.

The shoot today involved four container-loads of props and sets.

azlan According to the resident who had contacted Malaysiakini, the apartments have never experienced water shortage.

Selangor’s alleged water crisis has been a popular catchword in pre-election lobbying in the run-up to the 13th general election, expected to be called any time soon.

State water concessionaire Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) has been repeatedly saying that Selangor is facing water shortage, and blaming it on the Pakatan-led state government’s refusal to approve the Langat 2 water treatment plant.

However, it has been pointed out that cabinet ministers, in pushing for the plant that is to be only operational in 2014, have inadvertently contradicted Syabas on the matter.

‘I cannot say’

Meanwhile, an executive producer at the production company concerned, Chow Chun Son, when contacted also declined to clarify whether the shooting was to show there was a water crisis.

When asked whether the shooting was sponsored by the BN, Chow said he could not give an answer.

“Again, I cannot say,” he said, denying that the shooting was being done in secret.

“It is not shrouded in mystery but it is private and confidential, It is standard operating procedure in this industry,” he said.

Chow explained that the company would take the same action regardless of which party was sponsoring the production of the commercial.

“If we were to shoot an ad for Malaysiakini, we would say the same thing.”

Additional reporting by Salhan K Ahmad

VIDEO|5.47 mins

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