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In Malaysia, historically, freedom of artistic expression has been regulated through censorship laws and licensing procedures at both national and state levels. This study investigates the censorship of Malaysian drama in English (MDE) using the staging of Chin San Sooi’s Refugee: Images as an illustrative example. It explores how the play as well as contemporaneous MDE navigated censorship regulations for public staging in a climate marked by ambiguity, arbitrariness and improvisation. It shows that the frustration endured by playwrights as being due to the lack of a unified, consistent and systematic approach to censorship, which also explains the occasional instances of excessive caution, if not institutional overreach. It argues that the topicality and, by extension, the controversiality of the subject matter, is another factor that affected censorship. Lastly, it shows that some elements in the plays could be construed as political activism to effect social change by questioning, if not challenging, some of the sacred cows of the Malaysian constitution. This study concludes that for a newly independent country and a fledgling democracy, Malaysian authorities were relatively tolerant of dissenting playwrights as long as they respected the triumvirate of sensitivities—race, religion and politics—in multiethnic Malaysia.