KUALA LUMPUR: Since last year, the Film Censorship Board (LPF) has not approved seven movies to be screened in local theatres, with six films last year and one this year, says Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed Said.
The Deputy Home Minister said the sole film that was not approved for screening in local theatres this year was Chinese war movie The Battle at Lake Changjin.
He was speaking in Parliament during Question Time on Monday (Nov 29).
Ismail said the board did not approve six films last year, which were Bollywood movies Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and Paliu Padama Paathuka, White Eye from Israel, Boluomi from Taiwan, Real Love from France and locally-produced Daulat, which was eventually released on iFlix.
Ismail said the board evaluates films for local screening based on four factors: safety and public order; religion; sociocultural; as well as manners and decency.
"It is clear that safety and public order are the board's priority in evaluating the contents of a film before it is publicly screened," said Ismail.
Ismail also said the board was only in charge of the censorship of movies for public screening.
"It is not involved in filmmaking," he added.
He said the board falls under the Home Ministry's purview and film production in Malaysia was regulated by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) under Act 244 (Finas Act 1981).
Ismail was responding to Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong), who asked how many movies were not approved by the board since last year.
Daulat, which was released in April last year, tells the fictional story of a machiavellian politician plotting a comeback after being defeated in the general election.
It was reported that the producers initially opted for a theatrical release, but it was released on streaming platform iFlix eventually due to difficulties in getting approval from the board.
The three-hour long The Battle at Lake Changjin tells the story of a 1950 battle at the titular lake, also known as Chosin Reservoir, during the Korean War.
The film's local distributor Mega Film Distribution said in a statement on Nov 23 that it was considering submitting the movie for reconsideration.
It also denied that the movie promotes communism, and expressed regret over the board's decision as the movie has grossed US$890mil (RM3.7bil) in China.
The movie was released in China on Sept 30, the eve of China's national day.
It was reported that the board did not approve the film after online outrage that claimed it promoted communism, which is banned in Malaysia.