Kit Siang: After ban on book, will G25 be next?

Lim-Kit-SiangPETALING JAYA: Following the government’s ban on a book authored by G25, a group of eminent Malay moderates, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang today asked if G25 itself would be the next to be banned.

Calling the ban “extraordinary” and “unbelievable”, Lim pointed out that former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had written the foreword for the book, endorsing G25’s call for Najib Razak to demonstrate the political will to establish an inclusive consultative committee to address the issues that were raised.

Abdullah had also shared G25’s hope that the book would further encourage an informed dialogue on the role of Islam in Malaysia, he said.

“Has former prime minister Tun Abdullah’s foreword to the G25 book become a banned foreword?” the Gelang Patah MP said in a statement today.

He added that senior Umno leader and Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had launched the book at the accompanying “Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” forum in December 2015.

Lim said the book itself was authored by prominent Malay-Muslims such as Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, Azmi Sharom, Chandra Muzaffar, Nizam Bashir and Farouk A Peru.

“Have these contributors, particularly the Malay/Muslim stalwarts of society, become the new enemies of Malaysia, whether individually or collectively, by trying to destroy the very body fabric of multiracial and multi-religious Malaysia?”

The book, titled “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy”, was banned by the government because it was deemed prejudicial to public order.

The ban 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.

It was gazetted into law on Wednesday and can be viewed on the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) e-Federal Gazette.

“The printing, importation, production, reproduction, publishing, sale, issue, circulation, distribution or possession of the publication which is likely to be prejudicial to public order, likely to alarm public opinion and likely to be prejudicial to public interest is absolutely prohibited throughout Malaysia,” the gazette read.

Lim sees the irony in the prime minister launching the Global Movement of Moderates when the cabinet allows for incidents such as the “arbitrary” ban of the G25 book.

He also urged the cabinet to suspend the ban at its meeting today and form a high-level committee to hold public hearings on whether the book should be banned.