PETALING JAYA: The home ministry’s raid on the Toko Buku Rakyat bookstore yesterday was “unlawful and ignorant”, legal rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said.
LFL director Zaid Malek said seizing and destroying books are indications of a police state and called for the government to stop all enforcement actions pertaining to the books in question.
He added that government enforcers had acted unlawfully, unconstitutionally and recklessly when they raided and seized the books from the store.
“We are appalled with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, which is trigger-happy with the power it wields under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA).
“This is a piece of legislation notorious for its clampdown on freedom of the press in the past. PH had previously called for its abolition, a promise it has clearly forgotten,” he said in a statement.
Yesterday, local author Benz Ali complained that home ministry officials seized two books from his bookshop in Kuala Lumpur, adding that they were not on the banned list.
Malaysiakini reported that officials seized one copy of a book on Karl Marx (“Marx Sang Pendidik Revolusioner” or “Marx the Revolutionary Educator”) by Robin Small and a copy of his poetry collection (“Koleksi Puisi Masturbasi”).
The report said four officials from the ministry raided Toko Buku Rakyat at Wisma Central yesterday afternoon.
Zaid also said the move by the government to “go after” academic analysis and a book on the human condition is another cynical move to pander to conservatism.
“We remind the government that its duty is to safeguard the community from actual harm, not thoughts or ideas.
“At all times, the government must be guided by principles, not populist sentiments in hopes of garnering enough votes to stay in power,” he said.