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Malaysian ‘Schindler’ ban may be reviewed

Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said March 22 the government’s ban on the Oscar-winning Holocaust film “Schindler’s List” would be reviewed.

The picture has been banned because of what the censorship board called Jewish propaganda.

“The story reflects the privilege and virtues of a certain race only,” the Malaysian censors’ board said in a letter to the film’s distributor, according to a spokesman for Steven Spielberg.

“The theme of the film is to reveal the brutality and cruelty of the Nazi soldiers to the Jews,” it said. “It seems the illustration is propaganda with the purpose of asking for sympathy as well as to tarnish the other race.”

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who as home minister is directly in charge of the censorship board, said Wednesday: “We have the right to ban any movie. … There’s no need to protest.”

“I’m not anti-Semitic,” he said. “I’m anti-Zionist expansion (and) the conquest of Arab territories by Zionists.”

But Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said Wednesday the ban would be reviewed.

“It was the view of the censorship board and I think some of us will have to take it up. I don’t think that is the final decision,” he told reporters.

Of the reasons for the ban, he said: “I think it is an unacceptable reason if it is at all true. The Nazis were brutal and cruel and the victims, be they Jews or non-Jews, were victims and our sympathies should be with them.”