GEORGE TOWN: Although Shaw Brothers is raking in millions of ringgit for television rights to the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee's movies, none of his family members have been paid royalties.
Lawyer Datuk Hamzah Mohd Kassim, who is representing the legendary filmmaker and songwriter's grandchildren, said it was only appropriate that a certain amount be paid to the family members as token payment.
“This, despite the ambiguity in legal provision when it comes to the entitlement of royalty payment for films made several decades ago,” he said at a gallery next to Rumah P. Ramlee, the house where the late entertainment icon grew up.
Recently, it is learnt that a cross-media group with significant presence in DTH (Direct-To-Home) TV services, paid Shaw Brothers several millions of ringgit for the rights to air P. Ramlee movies over three years.
“In the old days, the movies were only meant for theatres,” said Hamzah.
“Nobody, not even Shaw Brothers, could have anticipated that P. Ramlee movies would be aired on televisions all over the world following his untimely death in 1973,” he said.
“As such, the family members clearly deserve some sort of payment based on the extra income generated from television rights.
“There is room for such demand to be made,” he added.
Hamzah said he would suggest to the Federal Government to hold talks with Shaw Brothers over the issue.
He said so far, the family members had only received about RM200,000 from recording companies that played P. Ramlee's songs last year.
He added that the Government should also hold talks with its Indonesian counterparts over royalty payment as P. Ramlee's songs were also widely played there.
In an unrelated development, Hamzah said there were plans to further develop the area surrounding Rumah P. Ramlee.
“We are looking at a mixed development project comprising hotels, educational institutions, a business centre and a residential area.
“Two government-linked companies are receptive to the idea, but a lot will depend on the decision of landowners in the surrounding area,” he said.
Also present at the press conference were the Federation of Malay Culture and Art Associations president Datuk Seri Mohd Yussof Latiffand Roslina Bahari, the director of Kembara Dunia Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd.
Mohd Yussof said the federation had secured the green light from the Education Ministry to name SK Kampung Jawa Baru after P. Ramlee.
He said P. Ramlee received his primary education at the school.
Roslina also launched two travel packages themed “P. Ramlee Heritage Trail” during the event. - theStarOnline