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Malaysia clamps down on local films that mock the government

Malaysia has issued a written guideline restricting local content from showing scenes that mock or are critical of the government and its officials.

This new round of censorship means that television stations and broadcasters will be barred from airing content that involves scenes and dialogues which “mock, belittle, criticise the government and the country’s national sensitivities” and “tarnish the government’s image”, The Malaysian Insider reported.

Malaysia’s film censorship board Lembaga Penapis Filem’s (LPF) chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid defended the banning saying that such scenes could potentially tarnish Malaysia’s image.

In a statement to The Malaysian Insider, Abdul Halim said: “We really can’t allow that because it involves our image. It can bring a bad image for the government, so we avoid this.

“Such scenes will definitely be censored, there is no avoiding it because we have our people in the television stations doing the censorship.”

The LPF also bans scenes of “women wearing form-fitting clothes – clothes that reveal the shape of the breasts, privates, thighs, buttocks, and underwear (except for Indian women in saris)” – from locally made films on television.

Scenes of characters breaking the country’s laws will also be cut out “unless it is an evil character and he gets his comeuppance”, The Malaysian Insider reported.

The new guidelines enforced on 15 June apply only to local films aired on television stations in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has also issued an official notice on its Facebook page, warning that those responsible for disseminating false news could be fined RM50, 000.

The notice forbids the sharing of false or modified news on social media as well as on platforms such as WhatsApp.

The warning came on the back of the recent 1MDB scandal currently making international headlines.

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