MARCH 18 — The new film Beauty and the Beast was to be screened last Thursday after our censorship board approved a “minor cut” involving a gay scene. Walt Disney has apparently stepped in and instead, postponed its screening indefinitely.
Tourism and Culture minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in his usual candid style derided our censorship yardsticks — feeling sorry for people who thought Malaysians were so easily influenced by what they watched in movies.
He said if we ban them in movies they can watch it on computers. Then we ban computers? I have always thought this man as one of the few politicos who consistently talks sense and especially admired his courage for always saying it as it is.
Law professionals are only qualified for consideration as judges after years of diverse practice and experience. This is necessary as they are relied upon to interpret the varied laws, combining justice and compassion, to deliver sound judgements, and sentencing.
The issue is in the selection process, as contenders are a plenty. I think we should be no less thorough in the selection of film censorship board panel members. Education levels and work experience are really, secondary.
The overriding criteria must be that one is neither too conservative nor a super liberal. Either extremes are natural killers of common sense!
My immediate thoughts on this incident was that why is our nation on centre-stage news again so soon after the Kim Jong-nam murder? But that earlier one had positive attributes.
Our many authorities, from airport security to the forensic science unit were seen as acting professionally. And of more consequence to the nation is that because of the dastardly episode we are reviewing our diplomatic ties. Anyway, why did we need to establish ties in the first place?
The recognition can only cause the Kim Il Sung dynasty an extended life and prolong the miseries of 25 million human beings. We didn’t do well here from all accounts. There now exists a chance to do it right!
My 17-year old Asha has this view. “Disney is correct to hold firm. Since Disney has publicly stated that the movie included such elements, moviegoers can decide to watch the movie or give it a skip. If they can handle the content, let it be. They have a choice. But if it were on TV, then more stringent rules can be applied, especially on Disney-type channels.”
Asha felt the circumstances of when and where must be considered by the censorship authorities.
It was an incident that certainly could have been avoided. What hoopla... indeed!
* Datuk Lee Yew Meng is CEO of Genovasi Malaysia.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.