Malaysia has banned Amir Muhammad's Village People Radio Show, a documentary about former Malay-Muslim Communists now living in exile in southern Thailand, after the censorship board rejected the film for being sympathetic towards communism.

Without relying on a narrator or voiceover, the documentary recorded the life of 15 surviving members of a Muslim division of the banned Communist Party of Malaya who made the 'long march' to the Thai border in the 1950s. Recollections of the decade-long guerilla warfare against the Malaysian government are interspersed with a fictional Thai radio soap opera.

The censorship board listed seven reasons for the ban in an official letter to Amir, citing its 'inaccurate portrayal of history'. The board objected to how the Communist struggle was portrayed as a noble cause.

Last year, Amir's The Last Communist about former Chinese Communists suffered the same fate when the Ministry of Home Affairs over-ruled an earlier decision of the censorship board which passed the film uncut.

Given the first ban, Amir half expected the ban on the sequel, but was still disappointed with the decision. 'It's a shame as Malaysia celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence this year. Having democracy should mean we could listen to different voices,' he says.

Earlier this month, Village People received its world premiere at Berlin where The Last Communist premiered last year. Despite the ban at home, the film will be screened next in Hong Kong and Singapore.

A Malaysian film which is banned at home can still play outside Malaysia at festivals or in theatres.