What is it about?

The paper traces briefly, the history and the development of animation in Malaysia while also giving a broad overview of animated features in the ASEAN region. Animation in Malaysia took off commercially with the setting up of the Multimedia Super Corridor in the 1990s. To date, Malaysia holds the record from among the ASEAN countries for having made the most number of feature animation and television series. The paper talks about the feature films and the source of their narratives, from the first in 1998 (directed by the author) right up to the box-office success of the first 3D cinema feature in 2009, which kick-started the commercial animation industry.

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Why is it important?

Once a highly-specialised area, animation in the digital age has enabled more and more young people to choose it as their career. This paper provides an understanding of how it all began and how it has developed from the analogue to the digital realm. This paper will help students, practitioners, lecturers and investors from within and outide the country to have a better understanding of how it was and inspire ideas on how to further develop the industry.


The first animation character in Malaysian animation in 1978 was a mouse deer, very well known from the popular folk tales told orally. My first animated short also featured a mouse deer. Being one of the pioneers in Malaysian animation in Malaysia, I naturally took an interest in its history,and especially when I started lecturing part-time. This paper and others finally culminated in a book called FROM MOUSEDEER TO MOUSE: 70 YEARS OF MALAYSIAN ANIMATION published in 2016. It has since become a standard textbook at universities and is referred to by academics and researches from within and outside Malaysia.

Mr Hassan Abd. Muthalib
Academy of Heritage, Art & Culture

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This page is a summary of: From mousedeer to alien creatures, Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, April 2013, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/japc.23.1.04has.
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