Thursday, February 22, 2007

Book on Kampong Medan Clashes Banned

Am so not on the ball with this banned books business! It wasn't until I started following links from Midnight Lily's last post on our Manuscripts Don't Burn blog that I realised that the KKDN had actually announced the latest crop of banned books.

I don't remember seeing anything in the local press ... or yes, wait a minute ... the Star did announce the book bannings, but I was confused because the books had already appeared on KKDN's 2006 list (as the ban became effective in December 2006). According to Malaysiakini:.

.. of the 18 books banned four of them related to Ashaari Muhammad, the former leader of the outlawed Islamic sect Al-Arqam.

The books banned include three published by Minda Ikhwan. These are Abuya Ashaari Muhammad: Pemimpin Paling Ajaib di Zamannya (Ashaari Muhammad: The Most
Miraculous Leader of His Time) written by Khadijah Aam.

Tsunami Pembawa Mesej dari Tuhan (Tsunami brings a message from God) by Ashaari Muhammad and Kathijah Aam and Pendidikan Rapat dengan Rohaniah Manusia (Teachings linked to human spirituality) by Ashaari Muhammad.

Another book blacklisted is Mengapa Sebahagian Bekas Pemimpin Arqam Menentang Haji Ashaari (Why some former Arqam leaders challenged Ashaari) by Dr Mohd Noor Mohd Basir dan Alifi Alias. The book is published by Perniagaan Mata Angin.

The ministry said the books were banned because they touched on Islam, contained misleading facts and insulted the prophet.

Other books banned include:

Kamasutra: Apakah Kebaikannya? (Kamasutra: What are its Benefits?) by Drs Munir Rahmat
Pengakuan Mangsa Rogol (A Rape Victim’s Confession) by Ayu Mayangsari
Negara Tuhan (God’s Country) by Tigga
The Origin of Species by F Susilohardo Basuki Hernowo
Islam and the West: A New Political and Religious Order Post September 11 by Robert Van de Weyer
Who is a Muslim? published by Sathiyaney
And March 8 by K Arumugum about the Kampong Medan clashes of 2001 which left six people dead and over 90 injured.

In an interview with Fauwaz Abdul Aziz in Malaysiakini (subscription required, but also available on the Suaram website) the author questions why the authorities have banned his publication as he says the information contained in the book is already available in the public domain and:

... includes research containing eye-witness accounts of the violence that had been conducted and submitted to Universiti Malaya and is freely available in the library of that university.

He says he documented the incident for future generations to learn from so that such clashes do not happen again and feels that banning books:

... is like trying to deny people the right to record their own history.


Juria said...

I am afraid that the controlled environment the big boss trying to implement will backfire one day.

Ted Mahsun said...

Juria, it already has backfired. No one realises it yet.

"Banning books is like trying to deny people the right to record their own history."
I must write that down. I agree fully with this and summarises what I think about all this perfectly. The powers that be seem to want to write their own version of history.

bibliobibuli said...

there's a pattern, isn't there ... the katigesu book held ... the shamsiah fakeh book ... amir's film ... and now arumugam's book ... who does history belong to. think this is a q. for farish noor!!

k0k s3n w4i said...

Shades of 1984. I can hear George Orwell saying "I told you so" all the way from his grave.

I've no idea at all about the Malaysian stance on book-banning till I came by your blog. Will be watching you for updates~

animah said...

A question that Farish has asked is who speaks for God. Looking at the books which tend to get banned, they are mostly about Islam which the government believes is deviationist. It would appear that the Malaysian government is the self appointed spokeperson for God and they determine what we can and cannot write or read about God. If you wanted to explore further, you would discover that the type of Islam allowed in this country is the harsh Arab Wahabist type.