Monday, December 04, 2006

SUN: Ministry Will Bar 'Offensive' Publications

Jacqueline Ann Surin's article about "restricted books", in the Sun yesterday.

I've pasted below the parts of the article I think are most telling:
The secretary of the publications and Quranic texts control division, Che Din Yusoh, said the minister could use "absolute discretion" to gazette "undesirable publications" as banned under Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA).

At the same time, Section 9 empowers ministry officers at Malaysia's entry points to refuse the importation of "undesirable publications" that are deemed to threaten public order, morality, security or national interest, even if they have not been gazetted as banned.

... Che Din said he could not confirm if Silverfish Books' list of titles had been banned, noting that officers at each entry point might have different lists.

He said that sometimes, books were confiscated at entry point and only later gazetted as banned. The publishers may also be asked to return these books to the sender.

"As the country's moral guardian, we cannot let these books in," Che Din said, adding that most of these titles were offensive because of their sexual or violent content.

"Some children's books may also have offensive content and contravene conditions in the PPPA."

He said some classics also had to be banned because they contained liberal Western ideas that were "not conducive" to Malaysian society.
And it's that line that really scares me. Particularly as it refers to books which were previously freely available.

Why has the ground shifted so radically in the last few months?

7 comments:

animah said...

The Sun is encouraging letters to be sent to them on this subject. E-mail letters@thesundaily.com

Also to Suanie, yes good idea to get a petition going. I'm about to send one in, but the more Malaysians speak up the better.

Erna said...

This blog is one way we're speaking up about it. But it just makes me upset at how further backward we're going. Assuming we need moral guardians? That's just sad.

The Eternal Wanderer said...

Is there an online version of the PPPA (1984)? I've tried searching it but alas, couldn't find the actual Act.

I'm also trying to locate the ISA Act, the Sedition Act, the Federal Constitution and the Official Secrets Act as well on the Internet. I want to look at all these Acts in more detail, seeing that I'm a writer, better familiarise myself with these Acts before I do anything stupid...

Thanks for the help in advance!

animah said...

Eternal Wanderer,
You'd have to subscribe to some of the lawsites to get the online version. It would be much easier to get the hard copies from the bookshops. They're not expensive.
I am thinking of writing out the relevant extracts of the PPPA and getting someone to post it.
As a writer, you should also be familiar with the Copyright Act and the Defamation Act.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for setting up this blog. I wouldn't have known just how many books or the ludicrous reasons they were banned to begin with!

bibliobibuli said...

thanks for your thanks norman.

the most important thing is to publicise what's happening even if we can't actually change anything

Anonymous said...

I showed the list to some friends who didn't know about it either. One of them said, "I had no idea Dora the Explorer and Spongebob have violent sexual content! Save me Che Din!"

I'm not a bloggostar gangsta but I'll link to you anyway. It might get more people in from my circle.