On 15 June 2015, the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) tightened its censorship rules for television and now bans any scenes or dialogue that “mock, belittle, criticise the government and the country’s national sensitivities,” as well as any that “tarnish the government’s image.”
LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told The Malaysian Insider that the restrictions were about protecting the image of Putrajaya, the country’s federal administrative centre.
“We really can’t allow that because it involves our image. It can bring a bad image for the government, so we avoid this,” he said. “Such scenes will definitely be censored; there is no avoiding it because we have out people in the television stations doing the censorship.”
Apart from restrictions about how laws and government are depicted, the 10-point list of restrictions also includes restrictions involving sexual and “passionate” scenes, nudity, foul language and gestures, portraying men as women – unless as a disguise, scenes of “women wearing form-fitting clothes,” or scenes of deviant behaviour unless the character “gets his comeuppance.”
The chairman noted that while these guidelines are new, they had been in practice all along, but that they are “just formalising it now.”
“Before this, censorship was open to interpretation,” he said. “Now that it is in written form, the dos and don’ts in terms of censorship are clear.”
The current restrictions apply to local Malay television and movie productions aired on local stations.
At least two filmmakers have had issues with the new guidelines. Erma Fatima decided to pull her film, ‘Pesan Dari Tuhan’ (Message from God), after she was told that the film needed 30-50 edits before it could be aired. And Shahrulezad Mohameddin said he now faced a problem if he wanted to make movies depicting child or wife abuse since the new guidelines ban any such scenes.
» Malay Mail Online – 11 July 2015:
Malaysian censorship board lays down stricter guidelines for local productions
» The Malaysian Insider – 9 July 2015:
No mocking Putrajaya, no deviants…local films get list of dos and don’ts