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Censored Films in Malaysia


Film censors and censorship


 

No support...

Malaysia's film censors ban bra adverts from TV


Link Here11th September 2021
Malaysia's Film Censorship Board (LPF) had sent a notice to two local TV stations instructing them that undergarments should not be shown regardless of it being worn by a model or a mannequin. The reason given was that any indecent visual displays, including advertising 'undergarments' will still offend the community.

A letter from the censors said:

The home ministry is of the view that the aforementioned content advertising innerwear is inappropriate to be shown for general viewing... and all broadcasts similar like this should be discontinued immediately.

Anna Har, co-founder of the Freedom Film Network, said the decision was unfortunate and yet another example of needless censorship in Malaysia. She said:

Since when are undergarments such an offensive item? They've been sold in pasar malams and supermarkets for years, this isn't pornography we're talking about.

 

 

Poles apart...

Malaysia's film censors ban for Hustlers for excessive obscene content


Link Here21st September 2019
Hustlers is a 2019 USA crime comedy thriller by Lorene Scafaria.
Starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez and Julia Stiles. BBFC link IMDb

Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.

Hustlers was banned by Malaysia's film censors of the LPF because of its excessive obscene content. The board said naked breasts, erotic dances and scenes featuring drugs made it not suitable for public screening.

And for comparison the film was uncut and BBFC 15 rated in the UK for sexualised nudity, strong sex references, language, drug misuse.

 

 

Culture of censorship...

Rocketman cut by the Malaysian film censor


Link Here2nd August 2019
Rocketman is a 2019 UK / USA musical music biography by Dexter Fletcher.
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron Egerton and Richard Madden. BBFC link IMDb

The Malaysian film censor has cut scenes which depicted depicted men kissing and having sex with one another. Safaruddin Mohammad Ali, head of the Film Censorship Board explained:

We do not allow any scenes that promote LGBTQ in films that are for public viewing.

Separately the film censor commented that although it is about the real life of Elton John, it is not for him to allow the public to see whatever he does or whatever activities he indulges in that is not our culture,

The film was also cut by the distributors in Russia over fears of the country's anti gay laws. Rocket man was also banned in Samoa.

 

 

Happytimes at the censor's office...

Malaysia's chief censor reports on 8 films banned in 2018


Link Here 9th July 2019
Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz, chairman of the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) has been interviewed by the New Straits Times.

He reported that eight films had been banned in 2018:

  • Dua -- Dunia Untuk Aku (Malaysia)
  • Padmaavat (India)
  • Iruttu Arayil Murattu Kuthtu (Malaysia)
  • Love, Simon (US)
  • A Fantastic Woman (Chile / Germany / Spain / USA)
  • Bilal (Malaysia)
  • 18.05.2009 (India)
  • The Happytime Murders (US)

He also made a fe comments as to why these had been banned

Any film with LGBT elements, whether directly or indirectly promoting or propagandising this element, will be banned. That was why Dua -- Dunia Untuk Aku was banned.

The animated film Bilal was banned as its portrayal of Islam was not in accordance with the Sunnah practised in Malaysia.

The Bollywood movie Padmaavat , meanwhile, was axed as it depicted Muslims negatively.

The other movies contained LGBT elements or had extreme sexual scenes.

Zamberi also spoke of the board's discussions to add an extra age certificate to Malaysia's line up. Currently, films are classified as U, P13 or 18. Zamberi said most of the time, local distributors and producers seek a U or P13 classification.

He said that there was a significant gap between the P13 and 18 categories and so the LPF is mulling introducing new classifications, like P15 or P16, to bridge this gap.

 

 

Update: No refuge from censorship...

Malaysian film censors target films at refugee festival


Link Here 17th August 2017
Several films about refugees have been censored for showing at a festival in Malaysia.

Activists say the Film Censorship Board (LPF) officials came to the Refugee Festival in Kuala Lumpur late last week, subsequently demanding the partial censorship of Bou , a film about trafficked brides from Burma (Myanmar), and total ban on Kakuma Can Dance about refugee hip hop dancers in Kenya.

Refugee Festival organiser Mahi Ramakrishnan, who directed Bou (bride in the Rohingya language) said Malaysian authorities turned up immediately prior to the opening of the event to force the filmmakers to gain prior clearance from the LPF before screening their work.

Ramakrishnan later showed a cut version of Bou on Aug 13, in which the LPF demanded certain, politically sensitive scenes were muted, played without subtitles or simply removed, including one showing footage of Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak. According to campaign group Fortify Rights, another such scene is where a human trafficker explains false passports for Rohingya child brides are made in Bangladesh before the trafficker will pay money to clear [Malaysian] immigration.

 

 

Update: Siding with repression...

Malaysia imprisons organiser of screening of No Fire Zone, a documentary banned at the behest of the sri Lankan authorities


Link Here 24th March 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing of Ms. Lena Hendry, former Programme Coordinator of the human rights NGO Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS).

According to the information received, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court sentenced Ms. Lena Hendry to a fine of MYR 10,000 (about EUR 2,130) or one year in prison for screening the documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war titled No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka four years ago.

On February 21, 2017, following a successful appeal by the Prosecutor against her acquittal in 2015, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court had found Ms. Lena Hendry guilty of violating Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for the private screening of the documentary without prior approval from Malaysia's Film Censorship Board.

The Observatory condemns Ms. Lena Hendry's sentencing, which merely aims at punishing her for her legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory calls upon the Malaysian authorities to ensure that all human rights defenders in Malaysia are able to carry out their legitimate activities in all circumstances without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.

Update: Appeals terminated

15th December 2017 See  article from malaysiakini.com

Activist Lena Hendry and the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) have dropped their respective appeals on her conviction for screening a documentary in 2013 without prior approval from the Malaysian Censorship Board.

Hendry's lawyer New Sin Yew said he had sent a letter to the Attorney-General's Chambers two weeks ago asking to withdraw Hendry's appeal on condition the prosecution do so as well.

The prosecution agreed to drop their appeal after studying the whole case. This should be the end of it, he told Malaysiakini .

New had previously filed an appeal to reduce Hendry's sentence and overturn the conviction, while DPP Zalina Awang had appealed for the sentence to be increased in severity.

 

 

Updated: Epic intolerance...

Ben-Hur censored in Malaysia


Link Here24th September 2016
Ben-Hur is a 2016 USA historical adventure drama by Timur Bekmambetov.
Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell and Rodrigo Santoro. Youtube link IMDb

The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

Malayisia's Film Censorship Board (LPF) said it was not to blame for the censorship of scenes involving Jesus Christ from the Hollywood remake of Ben-Hur .

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid further said he did not recall seeing such scenes from the movie submitted, adding that it was possible the Malaysian version is a different version from those shown elsewhere. He told Malay Mail Online:

Maybe, but not by us, probably by producers when they sent the film to Malaysia, they already cut the scenes, they know (there's) some sensitivities.

Halim said he was certain that the board did not remove the scenes that included Jesus, which were pivotal to the plot of the story.

Local viewers had taken to Facebook to complain of censorship of Ben-Hur, with scenes of Jesus forming key plot points allegedly taken out.

One Facebook user, Jasmine Sia, who watched the film on Friday night, said no scenes involving Jesus was shown at all. she told Malay Mail Online:

I felt cheated. The novel from which this movie is adapted is Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ . It means Jesus is central to the plot. It was censored so much the storyline made no sense! How did Judah's mother and sister get cured from leprosy?

No, they did not show anything with regards to healing. They just appeared at the end of the movie healed. That's why it made no sense.

The local distributor of the film, United International Pictures (UIP) Malaysia, acknowledged on its official Facebook page that the local edition was not identical to that shown elsewhere, after one user named Jerry Terry Derulo pointed out that the runtime here was 11 minutes shorter than listed on movie database IMDB.

Update: Export Version

24th September 2016.  See  article from themalaymailonline.com

Universal has confirmed that there is a special export version of Ben-Hur for intolerant countries that ban the depiction of other religions to their own. The latest Hollywood remake of Ben-Hur has an export version that has been edited to remove scenes featuring Jesus Christ. A Universal spokesman explained:

We submitted into the Censor board a Studio pre-edited version which was available for countries that do not allow the depiction of prophets on film whether by law or due to local sensitivities.

We learned from past titles submitted to the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) that no Prophets are allowed to be depicted on film. In Malaysia, previous films such as Noah and Exodus which depicted prophets were banned by LPF.

UIP Malaysia said the Malaysian version which was pre-cut to a total running time of 114 minutes is also available for other countries.

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid confirmed that LPF adopts the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia's (Jakim) guidelines for films, adding that the body tasked with overseeing religious matters and even the police are sometimes invited to view films together. He added:

But we also have some guidelines from Jakim that any films cannot portray all the prophets or the angels, even the Satan in the context of Islam. Anything mentioned in Quran cannot be visually portrayed in the form of character, figure or drawing.

 

 

Update: Epic intolerance...

Ben-Hur censored in Malaysia


Link Here18th September 2016
Ben-Hur is a 2016 USA historical adventure drama by Timur Bekmambetov.
Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell and Rodrigo Santoro. Youtube link IMDb

The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

Malayisia's Film Censorship Board (LPF) said it was not to blame for the censorship of scenes involving Jesus Christ from the Hollywood remake of Ben-Hur .

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid further said he did not recall seeing such scenes from the movie submitted, adding that it was possible the Malaysian version is a different version from those shown elsewhere. He told Malay Mail Online:

Maybe, but not by us, probably by producers when they sent the film to Malaysia, they already cut the scenes, they know (there's) some sensitivities.

Halim said he was certain that the board did not remove the scenes that included Jesus, which were pivotal to the plot of the story.

Local viewers had taken to Facebook to complain of censorship of Ben-Hur, with scenes of Jesus forming key plot points allegedly taken out.

One Facebook user, Jasmine Sia, who watched the film on Friday night, said no scenes involving Jesus was shown at all. she told Malay Mail Online:

I felt cheated. The novel from which this movie is adapted is Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ . It means Jesus is central to the plot. It was censored so much the storyline made no sense! How did Judah's mother and sister get cured from leprosy?

No, they did not show anything with regards to healing. They just appeared at the end of the movie healed. That's why it made no sense.

The local distributor of the film, United International Pictures (UIP) Malaysia, acknowledged on its official Facebook page that the local edition was not identical to that shown elsewhere, after one user named Jerry Terry Derulo pointed out that the runtime here was 11 minutes shorter than listed on movie database IMDB.

 

 

Updated: Pissing Up a Flag Pole...

Malaysian state attempts to ban the movie, Tanda Putera


Link Here 31st August 2013

The Penang government is asking cinemas in the island state to observe a ban of the movie Tanda Putera .

The executive councillor in charge of local government affairs Chow Kon Yeow announced the state's decision and said the request will be issued today:

We have no control over the content of the film, (which is the prerogative of) Finas (National Film Development Corporation Malaysia).

However, in view of the sensitive nature of the movie, we are directing the two local councils to write in to ask the 'cooperation' of the cinemas to not screen the movie.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng claimed:

The film has scenes which are slanderous, based on lies, and it is a threat to the harmony between the different communities in the country.

Those scenes of Chinese youth urinating inside the Selangor menteri besar (Datuk Harun Idris') residence and Malaysian flag can create chaos in society.

We cannot understand how the government can spend money to sponsor such a malicious and dangerous film.

Lim's father, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, has been engaged in a war of words with Tanda Putera director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, for the past year since news broke of an inflammatory scene of a Chinese man urinating on a flag pole at the Selangor mentri besar's residence in the historical film.

Update: Tanda Putera opens in Penang

31st August 2013. See  article from  thestar.com.my

The film opened in Penang after a two-day delay.

The movies was set to open after the state government's clarification that it had never issued a directive against the movie, but had merely given an advisory . The film has been approved by the Censorship Board.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng gave an assurance that the state government would not take any action against cinema operators who screen the movie.

 

30th October
2010
  

Repent or Suffer...

Malaysian film censor demands comeuppance for gays

The Malaysian Film Censorship Board has approved one of the country's first explicitly gay films but has insisted on an unusual catch in order for it to get to theaters.

Dalam Botol (In A Bottle) is one of the first Malay-language films to overtly tackle the issue of homosexuality. As the extremely conservative Muslim-majority country very rarely lets films dealing with sexuality, religion, or politics past the censors, some were surprised to hear that the film would hit theater screens. However, in order to get to the public, the film which contains absolutely no nudity, sex, or even kissing had one hoop that other Malaysian films do not have to jump through: censors insisted that the gay characters must either repent or come to a bad end during the course of the film.

The movie has been described by producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman as a tragic love story between two men, one of whom undergoes a sex change operation in order to allow them to have a public relationship. The story is based off the real-life experience of a man the producer knew.

When asked about the requirement that gay characters must repent or be shown in a negative light, Raja Azmi would only say that the characters indirectly express remorse.

Mohammad Hussain, chairman of the Film Censorship Board, said in an interview that, under new guidelines released in March, films dealing with homosexuality would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, although the theme was not encouraged. Sodomy, even consensual, is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Malaysia.

Mohammad said there must be some good intention on the part of the filmmaker to show people that homosexuality is something that's not normal at least in our culture.

Dalam Botol will be released in Malay-language markets next February.




 

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