what filmmakers say

Raja Azmi

What I don’t agree with censorship is when they simply create this perception that whatever we do will be copied by audiences. Is this really true? Where is this true? Not everything gets mimicked. Does the film restrict or influence the view? Or is it really society that influences filmmakers?

Bront Palarae

LPF is not serving the creative industry, they are set up under the Home Ministry to PREVENT any potential uproar from the public, particular group or even not to jeopardise bilateral/diplomatic relationship with other foreign countries. It's complicated and delicate in a multiracial country like Malaysia'

Chi Too

In Malaysian film and television, censorship is practiced in the name of protecting its body politic from untruths and immoral elements. But the truth is, censorship is practiced by the state to convey to citizens the need to adhere to certain strict moral codes and that some practices are not condoned. It is also done in order to protect their stranglehold on power and hide their misdeeds.

Haris Sulong

The mentality of the people in the LPF concerning what can be shown in foreign films but cannot be shown in Malaysia ones is - that is another country. Its okay. Its not our country.

Norhayati Kaprawi

The problem in Malaysia is that you can’t even show images of buildings of worship other than mosques. Temple, church and other places you can’t show on television. Pig you can’t show, or even dogs. You live in a multi-racial and multi-religious society, how can you have that kind of censorship?

Amir Muhammad

I expected (the film Two Sisters) wouldn't have any censorship problems, even though it has incest and all that because it's in Chinese. So Chinese language, they are more flexible.”

Nam Ron

Even though there was a bit of blood, they ordered it to be cut out. And we complied hoping for a PG13 rating. But we were still rated 18. Whereas a film like KL Gangster which should be rated 18, is rated PG13.

Hashim Rejab

I think society is wise enough to distinguish between good and bad. If we don’t show how Malays in the past practiced deviant teachings, how will society know?

Suhaimi Baba

Censorship is like a way of life for a filmmaker. You want to make films, you have to deal with it. It doesn’t take away your creativity, it just gets in the way. Censorship is there. You just make your film and don’t think about it.

Lina Tan

The problem is not whether there's a need for censorship, the problem is how relevant is censorship now? Because, you go the internet, you go to Netflix, you go on all these things, you can’t censor everything, you can’t censor the entire internet.

Aziz M Osman

If you cannot take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. We need to be responsible for the work that we create. Why did we create this piece of work? I think its important for a filmmaker to know deeply what they produced.

Zuli Ismail

You cannot sugarcoat everything. I mean, film is about reality. It’s the mirror of reality. I mean you can have the soap opera, the fun fun… and happy romcom. That's why I say go by genre. You will have the K-pop, the handsome jambu people, but you must have the other part.


We can have Brad Pitt smoking, drinking or even kissing but you can never see Rosyam Nor doing it in our films.

Raja Azmi

I repeatedly tell the LPF that my films are influenced by society. Society gives me ideas on what films to make. I make LGBT films because I have good friends from the LGBT community, so I come up with ideas. Half of the Malaysian population is not going to turn LGBT because of my films.

Lau Kek Huat

I don't really define [Absent Without Leave] as a political documentary as it is about me searching for my long lost grandfather whom I didn't know as a kid. I thought that this is a story about my family so it should be fine with the censors. It was a shock that the film was banned with no chance of appeal.

Yati Kaprawi

My job is to say how it is. […] My role is to challenge censorship through audio-visuals. […] As an activist it’s par for the course. It’s part of my activism. Especially when you highlight something that’s against what is being upheld by the authorities, especially the religious authorities.

Al Jafree Md Yusop

In Malaysia, your movie is classified according to the age of the audience and censored at the same time, which is ridiculous. It should be either one. If you want to censor, just censor. If you want to classify, do it properly.

Jules Ong

It’s our role as journalists, artists, filmmakers, to expand the imagination and the consciousness of people who read our work, watch our films, and listen to our radio reports.

Note: The quotes above are excerpts from interviews conducted as part of FFN’s commissioned research.