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 RahmatAnd March 8 by K Arumugum about the Kampong Medan clashes of 2001 which left six people dead and over 90 injured.
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
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.