Connect with us

Civil Society

Malaysian police stopped screening of HK activist film in JB

Malaysian authorities under fire for halting a film screening in Skudai, Johor. The documentary centers on Hong Kong activist and human rights lawyer Chow Hang-tung. MP condemns the unwarranted interference, endangering freedom of expression rights in Malaysia.



JOHOR, MALAYSIA: On 30 March, a scheduled screening of an independent documentary in Skudai was abruptly cancelled following the intervention of officers from the Film Censorship Board under the Ministry of Home Affairs, alongside police personnel.

The documentary, titled “She’s In Jail,” was organized by the NGO Johor Yellow Flame (JYF). Scheduled for 2 p.m. that day, it focuses on the story of Hong Kong human rights lawyer and social activist Chow Hang-tung.

Despite preparations, LPF personnel and police arrived at the screening venue. JYF in a press statement reported that an officer, citing Section 6(1) of the Film Censorship Act, arrested JYF member Lee Chen Kang, the event’s coordinator.

Additionally, the external hard drive containing the film and the screening laptop were seized.

Following interrogation at the Ministry’s office in Johor Bahru, Lee was released on bail around 4:45 p.m. on 30 March, with his laptop returned but his hard drive retained by investigators.

In response to this incident, JYF criticised the action of the Malaysian authorities as unnecessary and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

They echoed Freedom Film Network’s Executive Director Anna Har’s view that demanding all films be submitted for examination is unrealistic and could stifle freedom of expression and dissenting voices.

Section 6(1) of the Film Censorship Act states that no person shall own or allow to be in their possession or distribute, exhibit, circulate, display, produce, issue, sell, or rent any film or film promotional material that has not been approved by the Film Censorship Board.

JYF emphasized that numerous civil organizations in Malaysia have screened unapproved films for educational purposes, with some politicians from the Madani government participating in such events.

“We are appalled as to why the laws irrelevant to the needs of the times are still being used by the government today to deal with our group member.”

Since its establishment in 2011, JYF has actively addressed social issues, domestically and internationally, including through documentary screenings.

JYF said while they have previously screened documentaries on various topics, this marks their first encounter with authorities’ intervention.

They expressed puzzlement over the source of the report triggering such a response, considering it a disproportionate reaction to a minor event.

JYF’s statement calls upon all Malaysians, civil organizations, and principled politicians to unite in advocating for the repeal or amendment of relevant laws to prevent similar incidents from occurring to other individuals in the future.

The documentary narrates the journey of Chow Hang-tung facing charges of “inciting subversion” under Hong Kong’s national security law. Chow has been detained for over two years and awaits trial.

Previously, the documentary was screened in Kuala Lumpur on 2 March and in Ipoh on 23 March without any interference.

Separately, Lee Chean Chung, Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya, urged Malaysian authorities to cease interfering with the activities of NGOs.

He emphasized that the unjustified intervention by MHA officials should not have transpired, as it threatens the constitutional right to freedom of expression in Malaysia.

“In our increasingly mature democracy, people must always be afforded space for their freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution. ”

“A new paradigm is needed to manage the new politics,” he said in the statement published on his official Facebook page.

Civil society’s strong critique of Malaysian film censorship

The Malaysian authorities’ censorship of films has faced strong criticism from civil society.

In March 2023, Zaid Malik, the Director of Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), lambasted Malaysian government leaders for their hypocrisy and insincerity in lauding Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar win while concurrently persecuting local film producers and actors.

In January of this year, the producer of the Malaysian indie film ‘Mentega Terbang’ (Flying Butter) was charged in court for deliberately wounding the religious sentiments of others under Section 298 of the Penal Code.

This action followed the banning of their movie, ‘Mentega Terbang,’ by the Home Ministry in September 2023 and its removal from the streaming platform Viu in March 2023.

The Freedom Film Network, a community and engagement-driven network of Malaysian social filmmakers, strongly criticized the government’s practice of banning the film and subsequently criminalizing the filmmakers, deeming it an antiquated form of content control.

They also called on the Madani government to repeal and amend provisions in the Film Censorship Act, Communications and Multimedia Act, and the Penal Code, such as Section 298 and Section 505(b), which infringe upon the constitutional right to free expression.

Recently, Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail reiterated to Parliament that Malaysia does not recognize the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) lifestyle, and any film promoting this lifestyle will not be approved for screening in Malaysia.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Fuckers like these HK activitist even before landing in Changi Airport would be deported back to Xi land to let the commie fuck her CB in some black detention camp there!

Malaysia knows who butters their “economic bread” 🙂

Well Done! these are trouble makers all over the World, in HK they are nothing but cowards! Fuck their mother chee bye