The Importance Of Film Censorship In Malaysia

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Abstract This paper will discuss the strict and conservative censorship in Malaysia that director, Yasmin Ahmad had to go through. It was significantly for her film, Sepet, where even though she had received overseas recognition, she was shunned by certain groups of more traditional people in her own country that thought she had crossed the line in her film. There will also be a comparison with Yasmin and the Singaporean director, Tan Pin Pin, on the struggles they face from the censorships on their films. Tan Pin Pin’s film To Singapore, With Love was her only film to be banned in Singapore. However there was a different response from Singaporeans in regards to the ban against her film. Censorship has been the one barrier that any film has to go through before its distribution to the public. Is censorship the way of government controlling the people, especially in a country with different racial and religious groups? In Malaysia, the first film censorship function was applied in 1908, before the founding of the Film Censorship Board (FCB). The police performed the task to determine the suitability of a scene in a film under the Theatre Ordinance 1908. FCB implements policies for film censorship all across Malaysia. The first Act implemented was the Film (Censorship) Act, 1952 (Erawan et al.). Subsequently followed by the Film Censorship Act 2002 (Act 620), that is carried out until today (Moha.gov.my). As Malaysia is currently a socially and religiously diverse country

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