MP makes call to tighten censorship
The Straits Times | Mar 18, 1995


We highlight the speech by Mr Peh Chin Hua (Jalan Besar GRC) on the need for stringent film and print censorship. His speech in Mandarin is significant as it reflects the views of the conservative Chinese community here.

THE censorship of movies, television programmes and publications should be tightened. We should not be too lenient in case the thinking of Singaporeans is affected adversely.

Till today, I am still very uneasy with the screening of R(A) films. If we observe the advertisement of R(A) films in the newspapers, we will see they are big and eye-catching.

I believe that many young people are enticed by the advertisements to buy the film tickets, and I am sure R(A) films make a lot of money. Recently, I received complaints that censorship of our films has been relaxed again. Even PG films like Nell, are similar to R(A) films. There are topless and completely nude scenes.

So in order to take part in this debate, a few days ago, I went to see the film myself. I could not believe that this PG film was so liberal, which proved that what I had heard about it was true.

It is not PG at all. It is downright R(A)! PG films are supposed to be suitable for young and old alike.

Does the Minister not agree?

I am worried that the over-relaxation of censorship will gradually cause the decay of our society. For example, a recent survey on sexual attitudes among university students was conducted by the Medical Faculty of NUS. The report revealed that some students have sex about two or three times a month.

Chief Justice Mr Justice Yong Pung How has also said that although crime rates have been dropping, molest cases have been rising. I believe this is due partly to the negative influence of films.

As for the censorship of publications, I recently received a Lunar New Year card which was not about a prosperous new year or happiness and contentment, but rather, was a political cartoon - with a caricature of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

This is behaviour that is extremely disrespectful to our head of government. The card was even published in The Straits Times. Do they agree they can do this on New Year cards? If so, then Christmas and birthday cards and commercial advertisements in future would also be free to use the caricatures of the Prime Minister and other ministers!

I hope that the Minister will handle these issues carefully because a small spark can start a prairie fire.