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Censors have banned Zoolander,an American film comedy about a self-absorbed male model who's brainwashed into assassinating the prime minister of Malaysia.

The movie, which comedian Ben Stiller stars in, directed and co-wrote, was banned for "controversial elements," Singapore's Board of Film Censors said yesterday.

In the film, which opened in North America in September and was scheduled to open here next week, vapid male model Derek Zoolander is brainwashed into killing the prime minister of Malaysia for threatening the fashion industry with a plan to raise the minimum wage for labour in his country.

In neighbouring Malaysia, no theatre has even tried to bring in Zoolander,so there's been no need for a censors' review. But a bootleg version of the film is available there, and a junior party in the governing coalition has urged police to crack down and seize all copies. AP