Home Ministry not retaining Beauty and the Beast's controversial scene, says Nur Jazlan

Ahmad Fairuz Othman

KLUANG: The Home Ministry has no plan to entertain a request by Walt Disney Co to retain a controversial scene in its 'Beauty and the Beast' film, which screening in Malaysia has been postponed.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the United States-based entertainment and film company was using the issue - of challenging Malaysia's stand to censor a scene from the film - to portray itself as an advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issues.

He said Disney has nothing to lose in challenging Malaysia's values and its criteria for film censorship because Malaysia was not a big market for them in terms of profit.

"We will not (entertain Disney's request). We have laws and regulations. Any display of anything related to the LGBT culture will not be allowed," said Jazlan when asked whether the Ministry will bow down to an appeal submitted by Disney to retain a scene from the film that many people referred to as 'the gay moment.'

Nur Jazlan was speaking to reporters after attending the Prisons Day and National Anti-Drug Day celebrations at the Simpang Renggam prison today.

Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told AFP on Thursday that an appeal was sent by Disney to the Home Ministry to overturn a decision to cut out the scene from the film.

AFP also quoted the Hollywood Reporter as saying that Disney has postponed the Malaysian release of the film, which was originally slated to open last Thursday, until March 30 to allow authorities time to decide on the matter.

Nur Jazlan said as a big entertainment and film company, Disney would not incur losses if it pulls the film out of Malaysian theatres.

"The Disney company will not incur losses. They are using the "Beauty and the Beast" issue to portray they are advocating LGBT and they do so because the Malaysian market is small. If the film wasn't screened here, it would not incur much losses.

"What happens if China, Russia or the US bans "Beauty and the Beast"? It will adhere to the demands and culture of those countries." he said.