You are not our appointed moral guardian, Nazri tells Censorship Board

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah should have sought clarification on the new federal tourism tax before commenting on it publicly. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz censured the Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) today after rumours surfaced that another movie might be banned here because of LGBT elements.

In a press conference at the media centre in the Dewan Rakyat here, Nazri called LPF's actions "depressing" and reminded the board not to overstep its bounds.

"Who can be better than the parents to decide for their children? Who is the Censorship Board to say in a blanket rule that it's not good for the children?

"PG 13 is clear — parents can bring their children. We have never appointed the Censorship Board to be our moral guardian in such matters," he said, referring to the viewership rating system.

He was responding to a question at the press conference on the rumour LPF will ban Power Rangers, or censor a scene which reportedly portrays one of the protagonists as a lesbian.

"Now it's Power Rangers. I'm depressed. I feel the Censorship Board is going overboard. I think we should rein in the Censorship Board, and their standards should not be used for all Malaysians. We must do something about this," he added.

Nazri also asked the LPF to allow the screening of Power Rangers, but rate it PG 13 to allow parents to make their own judgement.

Nazri added he had watched the so-called "gay moment" in Disney's Beauty and the Beast and found it funny.

“If it was not told to me that there was a gay element, I never would have known. There were love bites and I didn’t even know that’s what it was,” he said, laughing.

After the fuss around the ban, local cinemas announced today that Beauty and the Beast will be screened in Malaysia without any cuts.

Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), the country's largest cinema chain, posted on its Facebook page that an uncensored version of the film will be screened.

The film was initially set to screen in Malaysian cinemas on March 16, but film distributor The Walt Disney Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd was reported last week as postponing it indefinitely pending "internal review."

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim had previously explained that the LPF had proposed cuts of four minutes and 38 seconds from the "live"-remake of the classic Disney animation, due to film director Bill Cordon's announcement that the movie contained a "first exclusively gay moment."

Disney Malaysia had refused to cut the scenes involving an alleged gay character from the movie for Malaysia, and was previously reported to have filed an appeal with the Home Ministry and postponed the Malaysian release to March 30 to give local authorities time to decide.