LOCAL screenwriter Alfie Palermo was voted in as president of writer’s association Persatuan Penulis Lakon Layar Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor (PENULIS) at its second annual general meeting which took place last Saturday.
Formerly serving as committee member on PENULIS’s complaints bureau, Alfie publicly posted a thank you note on Facebook which details his hopes for PENULIS over the coming year.
Following his appointment, he insisted that he isn’t looking for support from members, instead requesting that writers give serious thought to their rights.
Acknowledging the grave environment in which local writers must operate, Alfie then called on members to persevere in getting their demands across.
JANGAN MENULIS WALAU SEPATAH PERKATAAAN SELAGI ANDA TIDAK BERPUAS HATI DENGAN KONTRAK ANDA.
Ini HAK ANDA.
Percayalah, anda tidak akan dilihat sebagai ‘berlagak’, ‘sombong’ atau ‘menyusahkan’ kiranya anda menuntut hak anda sebagai seorang Penulis skrip di Malaysia. Ini Negara anda. Tuntutlah hak anda.
— Alfie Palermo, 28 February 2016
He also pleaded with members to be more conscious of the industry as a whole, reminding them that every form of injustice which has been allowed to happen to other writers will only exacerbate the current situation.
Among PENULIS’s goals in 2016 include forming a basic contract for members on top of liaising with producers to come up with a collective agreement.
Also in attendance was Umi Hashieda from Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO), who provided support and relevant copyrighting information to members. PENULIS deems this the first step towards establishing a copyrighting system as effective as the Music Authors Copyright Protection (MACP).
The association, officially registered in 2013 after two years operating independently as Gabungan Bebas Penulis Skrin Malaysia (GBPSM), is keen on fixing the local screenwriting ecosystem.
On top of arbitrating disputes involving individual writers, PENULIS has been lobbying for a writer’s guild system in lifting the overall standard of locally-written content.
Alfie replaces last year’s president, filmmaker Nizam Zakaria. Elsewhere, treasurer Shariza Mahmud has been made vice president while Thilah Arumugam assumes the role of secretary in the association’s most diverse line-up to date.
Featured image by Wan Mahani Wan Hassan.