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BBC Articles

Malaysia Bans Austin Powers

Malaysia has banned the latest big screen adventure of Mike Myers' spoof secret agent Austin Powers.

The international man of mystery will not be swinging in the mainly Muslim country because the Censorship Board says The Spy Who Shagged Me contains too much sexual innuendo.

"There will be no loss, socially speaking," information minister Khalil Yaakob told reporters.

The ban will apply to cinemas, television, video compact discs (VCDs) and video tapes.

Neighbouring Singapore recently allowed the movie to be screened after much debate on whether to change the title to The Spy Who Shioked Me. "Shioked" means good or nice in Singapore's local dialects.

Malaysian television recently showed the first Austin Powers film, International Man of Mystery, and, despite the ban, copies of the latest film are expected to be widely available on pirated VCDs.

Strict censorship

In January, Malaysia also banned The Prince of Egypt, an animated musical portraying the life of Moses.

Government officials in the country said the film had been banned so as not to offend Muslims.

About 60% of Malaysia's 22 million people are Muslim, with the remainder being Christian, Hindu or Buddhist.

Film censors in the country have little tolerance over nudity, sex, strong language, violence or sensitive religious themes in films.

Five years ago Malaysia's censors also initially refused to screen Steven Spielberg's Holocaust epic Schindler's List on the grounds that it was sympathetic to Jews.

It was later allowed through with several violent and nude scenes cut.

The Spy Who Shagged Me is already a massive box office success around the world and is a former number one in the US, where it has raked in $182 million (113m) since its release last month.

In the UK, it opens on 30 July.

July 7, 1999

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