Lawyer: Home Ministry may decide to lift ban on Zunar book


Source: The Malay Mail

Ed. The Home Affairs Ministry is contemplating whether to withdraw the ban issued on Zunar’s Sapuman: Man of Steal. This was revealed by the senior federal counsel defending the Ministry and the Malaysian government in a judicial review of the ban filed by Zunar at the High Court.

Cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque had pledged to continue drawing despite the government banning some of his books, saying it was impossible for the authorities to ban his ideas. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — The Attorney General’s Chambers is awaiting further instructions from the Home Ministry (KDN) on whether to withdraw the ban issued on a book by cartoonist Zunar entitled Sapuman: Man of Steal.

Counsel N. Surendran who is representing Zunar whose real name is Zulkiflee SM Anwarul Haque said the information was revealed by senior federal counsel Muzila Mohd Arshad who appeared on behalf of the Home Ministry and Malaysian government as respondents during case management in the chambers of High Court Judge Datuk Azizah Nawawi today.

“As such, the hearing of the judicial review application was postponed to August 9 after Muzila told the court that the prosecution was waiting for further instructions from KDN on the matter,” said Surendran who added that the same date was also set for KDN to determine the status of the case.

Surendran said should KDN withdraws the ban on the book, the judicial review application submitted by his client would not proceed.

“There is a possibility that we would not go on with the judicial review application if KDN withdraws the ban. Whatever it is, it all depends on the terms and response from KDN,” he said.

Surendran said the judicial review application should have been heard today after his client obtained the right to start proceedings on February 12.

Zunar filed his application on January 2 to seek among others to cancel the home minister’s order dated October 31, 2017 on the ban of the book and a declaration that the order was invalid as it was against the Federal Constitution as well as ultra vires under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

Based on the supporting affidavit filed with the application, Zunar said he had launched his new book on the current political issues in Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on September 13, 2015.

The cartoonist also alleged the home minister through a federal government gazette issued an order under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 prohibiting the publication, import, production, publication, sale, distribution and possession of the book throughout Malaysia. — Bernama