PRESS STATEMENT: 1 OCTOBER 2010
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the Ministry of Home Affairs’ banning of the book, ‘The March to Putrajaya – Malaysia’s New Era is at Hand’. The ministry’s secretary-general Mahmood Adam said the book, written by author Kim Quek, is “not suitable for general reading”; contains elements of “baseless accusations and speculations” against national leaders; and could incite public hatred and anger. The Home Ministry is being unreasonable and defensive by linking criticism of the ruling government with public disorder when criticism of those in power is a hallmark of a functioning democracy.
SUARAM believes that no books should be banned to prevent the circulation of ideas, and that the people should be free to seek and receive them. A representative of the book’s distributor, Gerak Budaya, said that some copies of The March to Putrajaya were seized by the authorities from a Popular Bookstore outlet in Kuantan Megamall, Pahang on 19th August. The undemocratic measure of confiscating the books is clearly a move to intimidate retailers from selling them.
SUARAM calls for an immediate lifting of the ban and the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), under which the ban is being imposed. Once again, application of the law is arbitrary and is being abused by the state as a political tool for hegemonic purposes rather than to maintain social order.
The government should respect Article (10) of the Federal Constitution and Article (19) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) which clearly state that, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.