Minister: Movie ban will only lead to illegal downloads

BY KAMLES KUMAR
A ‘Beauty and the Beast’ poster in downtown Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2017. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Malaysians will resort to illegal means to stream movies that the government bans, a federal minister said today.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the recent move by authorities to delay the screening of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast would only lead to Malaysians downloading it illegally online.

“We are intelligent enough not to believe what’s being shown on television. If you cannot even allow them to see it on the screen then they can source it through the computer.

“Then what, ban computers? You are asking them to do something, which may lead to them doing something illegal,” he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby today.

Commenting on the Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) decision to censor certain parts of Beauty and the Beast, Nazri said the authorities were going overboard with their censorship.

“I feel sorry for this people who think Malaysians can be so easily influenced by watching these movies.

“For heaven’s sake don’t treat people like children, enough is enough. I do not know where they find the time to go through all this and check,” the Padang Rengas MP added.

The highly-anticipated Disney remake met global controversy after director Bill Condon told UK magazine Attitude that the character of Le Fou, played by Josh Gad, would have a “nice exclusively gay moment” in the movie.  

It was reported yesterday that the live action remake of the classic fairy tale has been removed from cinema listings and postponed indefinitely pending an “internal review” by film distributor The Walt Disney Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

The LPF has since disavowed responsibility for the delayed screening of the movie, saying the agency already approved the movie with a PG13 rating.

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hamid acknowledged that his agency removed a “minor scene” over gay content, but added that the edited movie was suitable for those over the age of 13 with parental guidance.