KUALA LUMPUR: Local celebrities cannot strip for the big screen, said Information, Communications, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
He said the ministry was firm in its stand that nude scenes in films or movies were not allowed.
"It is clearly not allowed. So if Muslim producers want to have naked scenes, it is certainly a clear violation. The actor and producer should both disagree to it. Why should this matter become a polemic?" he asked.
"Something that is prohibited in Islam and is still done, is a violation. So we are not keen to discuss this matter. We still say it cannot be done," said Dr Rais, after a press conference on the country's 53rd National day celebration here Thursday.
He was asked to comment on actor Arja Lee, whose real name is Azharuddin Ramly, going nude for a bathing scene, in his lead role of a transsexual in ... Dalam Botol, which is expected to be released at the end of the year.
Arja Lee raised a controversy when he admitted to stripping naked on his own will in the movie, produced by Syarikat Penerbitan JAS and directed by Khir Rahman.
Following his admission, Arja Lee, a Universiti Sains Malaysia student, was asked by his lecturer on July 12 to explain the matter.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom also directed the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to investigate the matter.
Producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman, who plans to market the movie overseas and also screen it at international film festivals later, told a local Malay daily that the nude scene had been cut without Arja Lee's knowledge.
She said the original script did not require Arja Lee to go naked but merely proposed that he wore tight hotpants when bathing.
Arja Lee shaved his body hair, wore heels and lipstick, and performed a nude bathing scene for the movie.
The dancer-turned-actor plays the lead role of a man who has a sex-change operation for his lover, only to have the latter reject the "new package."
Dr Rais advised producers not to include nudity in local films because one's beauty could be portrayed in various ways, not through sex scenes.
Asked whether the film should be banned, Dr Rais said it should be left to the film censorship board.