Govt confirms G25 book ban for ‘promoting liberalism and pluralism’

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The government has finally confirmed the banning of a book published by G25, a group of prominent Malays, in a statement released by the home ministry yesterday.

The book, “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy”, was one of 18 in the prohibition order issued by the home ministry, for containing material that may be “detrimental to security and public order, jeopardising morality and public interest, and corrupting the minds of the public”.

The statement, issued by the ministry’s secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim, revealed that the order was issued on July 27, 2017.

“This order specifies that the printing, importation, production, reproduction, publication, sale, distribution, issuance, circulation, distribution or possession of the publications are strictly prohibited in Malaysia,” he said in the statement.

The reason for the banning of the G25 book was given as “it contains elements promoting liberalism and pluralism which are contrary to Islam’s Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah (Sunni) teachings”.

It was previously reported that the ban on the book was made under the Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) (No. 12) Order 2017, and signed by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on June 14.

When news first broke of the book being banned, there was much criticism, given that Malaysia was projecting itself as a model of moderate Islam on the international front. Read more

G25 mulls legal action on book ban

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

Screenshot of book cover

G25 is mulling to take legal action against the banning of its book on role of Islam in Malaysia by the Home Ministry if there is no explanation given on why the book is deemed prejudicial to public order.

Group spokesperson Noor Farida Ariffin said in an interview with business radio station BFM earlier today that the ban did not make any sense as they had never heard of any incident of public disorder or rioting caused by the book.

The book, ‘Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy’, which was launched by Razaleigh Hamzah, had been on the market for the last one and a half years, Noor Farida said. Read more

Cenbet calls for review of government censorship process

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Following the government’s ban on a book authored by a group of eminent Malay moderates, the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) says the home ministry should review its censorship process for print publications.

In a statement today, the NGO’s co-president Gan Ping Sieu said this was not the first time the ministry’s decision to ban certain books had attracted bad press for the country.

He pointed to the 2011 ban on an article in The Economist on Malaysia’s electoral reforms, adding that numerous other “questionable” decisions to ban books and magazines had been made over the years. Read more

Academic: M’sia becoming ‘nanny state’ with G25 book ban

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: An academician has cautioned that the country is heading towards becoming a “nanny state” where the government interferes in almost every aspect of a person’s personal choices and views.

Prof Tajuddin Rasdi of UCSI University said Malaysian intellectuals should be allowed to discuss matters of religion and other social issues.

“It seems now intellectuals cannot offer an opinion on religion because they did not go to a madrasah.

“It is a problem because religious groups are allowed to comment whether a sculpture is okay or not, or whether a mosque should have a dome,” the architecture lecturer told FMT.

He was commenting on the home ministry’s recent ban on a book titled “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy”, featuring essays by members of the Group of 25 (G25) eminent Malays, as it was considered “prejudicial to public order”.

He said the book was written by noted former ambassadors, judges and high-calibre academicians, such as political scientist Chandra Muzaffar.

He said it offered a different perspective on issues and the writers were not trying to jeopardise society.

Tajuddin said there was a need to allow ideas to be aired. He said the absence of diverse opposing views had led to Malaysian university students lacking the ability to articulate ideas and issues well.