PETALING JAYA: The Film Appeal Committee - and not the Film Censorship Board - made the decision to release Disney’s live-action film Beauty and the Beast without cuts, the Home Ministry clarified.
"The view that the Film Censorship Board had made a u-turn or overturned its decision in the Beauty and the Beast movie cuts is unfounded," the Home Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
It said the board watched the film screening on Feb 17 and had given the film an "Approved with Edits" (Lulus Dengan Pengubahan) with three cuts and one muted dialogue.
"The decision was made on the basis that the scenes contained elements promoting a gay lifestyle," the ministry said.
"Issues relating to the suspension of the film's release in Malaysia is a decision of the film's producer Walt Disney Pictures and distributor Buena Vista Columbia Tristar Films (M) Sdn Bhd.
"The decision regarding the suspension of the film has nothing to do with the Film Censorship Board," it said.
The film producers and distributors chose to submit appeals to the Films Appeal Committee on March 20. The committee watched the film and considered the appeal on March 21.
"The Committee then gave the go-ahead for the film to be screened in Malaysia under the classification of P13 without cuts on the grounds that the gay elements in the film are minor, and it does not affect the positive elements featured in the film," said the Home Ministry.
"The Film Appeal Committee is an independent committee of the Film Censorship Board that was established by the Film Censorship Act 2002, and is not bound by the decision of the Film Censorship Board," it said, adding that the Committee has the power to overturn the Film Censorship Board's decision.
"The existence of the Film Censorship Board and Film Appeal Committee under the laws of the Film Censorship Act (2002) shows that there is an element of check and balance in the process of film censorship in the country," said the Home Ministry.
Last week, it was announced that Beauty and the Beast will be released in Malaysia on March 30 without any cuts.
The re-telling of the animated classic was originally scheduled to start screening on March 16 but was postponed after Disney refused to edit the film.