Saturday, December 06, 2008

No Terrestrial Address Reason for Book Seizure

At The Nut Graph Zedeck Siew manged to catch up with Home Ministry's acting director for Selangor, Zainal Osman, to find out why copies of Farish Noor's book From Majapahit to Putrajaya were seized from Kinokuniya in a joint inspection carried out by officials from the ministry, and from three Islamic departments : Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais), Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (Jawi) and Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim)*.

Would you believe it - the first reason for the confiscation was the book does not carry the publisher's terrestrial address? :
The first clause of Section 11 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 stipulates that “Every publication printed or published within Malaysia shall have printed legibly in Bahasa Malaysia or the English language on its first or last leaf the name and address of its printer and publisher.” ... According to Zainal, while the book does contain “Silverfish Books, Kuala Lumpur” on its first page, this is not sufficient to fulfil the requirements of the law. “We can already charge the publisher and bookseller in court,” he asserted. ... If convicted, they are liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to a fine not exceeding RM5,000, or both.
Raman of course explains that in the ten years since he has set up Silverfish, he has moved three times, and even if he had included a street address in the book at the time of publication, it wouldn't be valid now!

But it seems that the second reason why the book is under scrutiny was because it touches on issues concerning Islam. En. Zainul explains :
Because we have no expertise on this matter, we have sent it to Jakim for study.
And this is apparently why the investigation is taking so long and why no date can be given when Jakim would arrive at a decision about the book.

Raman's decision is to withdraw the book with immediate effect and to republish (since the book is not banned) - with the address included.

It will be interesting now to see what happens - or doesn't happen - with the book. But as I say, we are watching.

* JAIS = Islamic Department of Selangor (= JAWI = Islamic Department for the Federal Territory (i.e. Kuala Lumpur), JAKIM = Department of Islamic Development.


Matt said...

Interesting to know if other books published locally carry a 'terrestrial address'. I read Noor's The Other Malaysia and didn't enjoy it due to the highly anti colonial attitude. It was typical of post colonial works I've read elsewhere, notably by Indian writers. But I will look out for this one from Noor with interest.

bibliobibuli said...

i checked through most of my locally published books and found most did have a terrestrial address, though amir m's matahari books didn't!!! take care amir!

Amir said...

I plead guilty! The reason is, I don't actually have an office!

Chet said...

Is a PO Box address valid? Quite easy to apply for one, I think.

bibliobibuli said...

i reckon it has to be the address of the office ...