KOTA KINABALU: Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan called on the federal government to immediately lift the ban on the book titled The Golden Son of the Kadazan.
Speaking to FMT today, Kitingan said the book, which was first published in 1978, has been banned for more than 40 years now and there is no need to keep it that way forever.
“Besides, what is there to ban? After all, it is well known already. It is all over the internet anyway. The ban should be lifted so that it can be made available in book form and sold in the country,” he said.
Kitingan said the book not only tells of the story about the Kadazan politician Peter Mojuntin but also narrates what happened in the years leading to the death of Mojuntin and several other Sabah leaders in a plane crash on June 6, 1976.
But more importantly, said Kitingan, the book gives a glimpse of the cultural life of the Kadazans, thus making it a valuable record not only for the people of Sabah but also for the whole of Malaysia.
He pointed out that during Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) time, the state government had appealed to the federal government to lift the ban but the request was not entertained.
“Now that Dr Mahathir Mohamad is prime minister again, he should attend to this issue. He was one of the people who maintained the ban long ago.
“So many people want the book to be widely available. Why not, then? Continuing the ban proves we are totally out of sync with the times.”
He also said he is not the only person calling for the lifting of the ban as even current International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking also made a similar call last year.
The book was written by Bernard Sta Maria, a member of DAP and former assemblyman for Banda Hilir, Malacca, in May 1976. It was banned on July 22 that year under the now abolished Internal Security Act (ISA).
Three years ago, then Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the book was a threat to national interest and security.
The book, he said, contained excessive criticism against the federal government as well as posed a danger to the inter-religious harmony between the Muslims and Christians.
Despite the ban, the book is widely available in digital form on the internet and is shared freely on social media.