Putting Policemen as Censors in Cinemas: The History of Film Censors in Malaysia

  •  WM Wan Amizah    
  •  Faridah Ibrahim    
  •  Fauziah Ahmad    
  •  Normah Mustaffa    
  •  Maizatul Haizan Mahbob    


The year was 1917, in a crowded cinema in Penang, Malaysia. A policeman stood silently in the aisle,scrutinizing the movie on screen while glancing at the raucous audience. He is the Censor, the person authorizedon behalf of the Commissioner of Police, to approve or otherwise, the exhibition of cinematographic films to thepublic. This paper traces the historical development of film censors in Malaysia, from the time film first arrivedin Malaya in 1898, the legislation that controlled and censored the content of films which then leads to theappointment of policemen as Censors, and the development of the system which sets the foundation of filmcensorship for more than a century, until today, in Malaysia. Historically, the current system and policies of filmcensorship in Malaysia was a legacy by the British since late 18th century.

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