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‘We don’t promote communism,’ says publisher

 | October 12, 2016

The Malaysian publishing company, Thukul Cetak, was recently questioned by Indonesian police for exhibiting Karl Marx's “The Communist Manifesto”.

thukul-cetak-1

PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian indie publishing company, that was probed for exhibiting copies of a communist manifesto in Jakarta, has denied promoting the concept of communism through its books.

Thukul Cetak Chief Executive Officer Zul Fikri Zamir, a Malaysian better known as ZF Zamir, said his books were not seized as reported by the media.

“The books were displayed only for the exhibition. We promote alternative or critical views through our books.

“We are not a socialist publisher. We publish books on social and political views.

“Our books were not confiscated. No one was arrested.

“Our men were questioned from 1.30pm to 8.45pm (Oct 2) at the foreign unit of the police department and we gave our full cooperation,” he told FMT.

The four Malaysian men were investigated for violating Indonesian laws by selling copies of a translated edition of “The Communist Manifesto”, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, at the Indonesia International Book Fair at the Jakarta Convention Centre.

The four were brought to Jakarta police headquarters for questioning, but were not slapped with any charges by the authorities.

Zul Fikri said the men were probed by the Indonesian Government for their hammer and sickle sign on the books exhibited.

They were also questioned on the first few pages of the translated books, which included a critical review of the book and raised questions on Marx as well as his philosophy.

He noted that Indonesian Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy had held up the book during the launch at Pavilion Malaysia recently.

“Does it mean the guest of honour did not realise or understand the symbol (hammer and sickle)?”

Thukul Cetak (literally, Hammer Press) was set up in early 2015.

It created a controversy with its first publication, “Fathi Aris Omar’s Agong Tanpa Tengkolok” (King Without A Headdress), with its cover depicting former Premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, with a sketched king’s headdress and content dealing with the effects of political power on religion, culture, language and critical thinking.

It sold 1,000 copies within the first month of its launch and has since been reprinted several times.

Other books by Thukul Cetak include Azhar Ibrahim’s “Utopia Masyarakat Lambak” (a discourse on the alternative/indie scene), Faisal Tehrani’s “Cerpen-Cerpen Underground” (“Underground Short Stories”) and Zul Fikri’s latest, “Berlari Dari Jogja” (a travelogue about finding faith and humanity).

Others are on the philosophies of Plato, Kafka, Camus, Derrida, Sartre and Che Guevara.


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