MP thinks S'pore 'too lax' in film censorship

The Straits Times | Mar 10, 2000
By: Chua Mui Hoong



MP PEH Chin Hua almost did not get to see the movie Shakespeare In Love. He said his children advised him against it because it was "not fit for an MP to be seen watching it", he told Parliament.

But Mr Peh, an MP for Jalan Besar GRC, went anyway. And he was shocked, he said, that a movie about Shakespeare was rated R(A), meant for audiences above age 21.

"I insisted on going. I wanted to know what kind of criteria is being used by Mita," he said in Mandarin.

In his opinion, if two scenes had been cut, the film would have been accessible to more people with a PG rating. Instead, the scenes stayed and the film was rated R(A).

Mr Peh thinks Singapore has become too lax in its censorship of films. He circulated copies of newspaper advertisements for R(A) movies with such titles as Virgin Of Eight Wonders, Prostitute Downfall, Surrogate Woman and Scorpio Nights.

In an impassioned speech, he said: "We must not allow such movies to flood our cinemas ... We should not further liberalise censorship."

He was also upset to learn that some comic magazines for children had pornographic material, he said, during debate on the estimates for the Ministry of Information and the Arts (Mita).

The minister, Mr Lee Yock Suan, said Mita shared Mr Peh's concern about pornography. He asked for details about the alleged pornographic children's magazine, and assured the House that censorship controls remained strict.