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Malaysia says LGBTI films can screen only if they teach ‘moral lesson’

Malaysia says LGBTI films can screen only if they teach ‘moral lesson’

Movie theater full of people

Malaysia has issued a new policy for screening films with LGBTI content — they’re allowed as long as they contain important ‘moral lessons‘.

The policy also applies to films with themes of ‘gangsterism’.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman confirmed the new guidelines. He said this is ‘in line’ with the Film Censorship Board and not approving films with ‘deviant lifestyles at their very core’.

‘We view this matter seriously. The Home Ministry is quite strict on film releases,’ Jamman said.

‘When a film (with elements of gangsterism or LGBT) is approved, it should come with a lesson.’

An example of a gangster film with a moral lesson is public citizens helping authorities keep a check on crime in the community.

Lessons must be cautionary

The comments came out of a Question and Answer Session at the Dewan Rakyat. The Dewan Rakyat is the lower house of Parliament in Malaysia.

Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid asked about the Malaysian government’s efforts ensuring movies with LGBTI themes not influencing the country’s youth.

Tellingly, Jamman said the lessons of approved movies cannot simply be anything, but they must be specific and cautionary.

‘In some films, we do not deny there are ‘mak nyah’ (transgenders) characters,’ Jamman answered. ‘However, these films make a strong (cautionary) lessons on such characters.

‘We approve these films as there are lessons to be learnt.’

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