Archive for October 31st, 2017

Call for a Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights whose terms of reference would include reviewing the ban of over 1,600 books in the past 40 years

It is an honour and privilege to be here to take part in the dialogue on “Maju Malaysia: Buku Sumber Kebijaksanaan atau Penggugat Keharmonian?” at Summit USJ Mall organized at the initiative of the Office of Hannah Yeoh, Selangor State Assembly Speaker and to have such a distinguished panelists of discussants, namely Pak Samad Said, Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa, Art Harun and Al-Mustaqeem Mahmud Radhi.

Recently, there had been a spate of bans on books and publications, but the most shocking was the ban in July on the book produced by G25 titled “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation ― Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” in a country founded on the principles of moderation, tolerance, openness and inclusivity and whose Prime Minister has gone to the United Nations General Assembly three times since 2010 to sell his international initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates, which has proved to be neither global, a movement nor moderate.

Early this month, the government banned the latest work of Malaysian cartoonist Junar, whose book “Sapuman: Man of Steal”, making a mockery of Malaysia’s commitment to human rights and freedom of expression. This follows earlier bans on Zunar’s other cartoon books – Gedung Kartun, 1 Funny Malaysia, Isu Dalam Kartun (Vol 1, 2, 3), Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar, Perak Darul Kartun and Pirates of Carry-BN. Zunar’s Ros in Kangkongland and other titles are also investigated under the Sedition Act.

Malaysia also banned the international best-seller “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” published in United States in 2011, just after an unpleasantly-enforced end to a lecture tour by Turkish author Mustapha Akyol, who suddenly found himself a “persona non grata” by the religious authorities in Malaysia, subjected to harassment and detention. Read the rest of this entry »