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News: World

Thu 31 Mar, 2011
By Newsdesk

For me, this film is my soapbox to remind society not to be influenced by gay culture, which is considered taboo in this country

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Malaysia's first gay-themed movie is a hit

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Malaysia's first gay-themed movie has been a hit at the box office but an official from the conservative Islamic party Thursday called for it to be banned despite its anti-homosexual ending.

"Dalam Botol" ("Inside a Bottle") raked in one million ringgit ($330,000) in the first five days, making it a local hit, the Star daily reported, despite Malaysia's conservative views on homosexuality.

The movie, which opened on March 24, features a gay male character who has a sex-change operation to please his lover but finally regrets the procedure. It ends with him falling in love with a girl.

Although the movie has a gay theme, producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman said she regarded it as a warning to the public about homosexual culture.

"For me, this film is my soapbox to remind society not to be influenced by gay culture, which is considered taboo in this country," Raja Azmi told the Star.

In Malaysia, positive depictions of homosexuality in popular culture are taboo with local media facing fines of up to 50,000 ringgit (about $17,000).

Sodomy, even between consenting adults, is illegal and punishable by up to 20 years in prison and lashing.

Although the movie ends with the lead character opting for a heterosexual relationship, Hatta Ramli, senior opposition lawmaker from the conservative Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), told AFP that films depicting gay lifestyles should not be shown to the public.

"I do not understand why we expose such movies to the people. We do not need such movies.

"We should focus our attention to resolve other more pressing issues like drug taking," he added.

Last October, PAS urged authorities to cancel a concert by gay American singer Adam Lambert. The show went ahead, but party activists protested outside.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is on trial for sodomy.

Anwar has said he is the victim of a plot to prevent him from taking power after the opposition made huge strides in 2008 elections, stunning the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which has been in power for half a century.

Source: AFP


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