Monday, January 22, 2007

Local author's book banned

Author: Banning my work a denial of history
by Fauwaz Abdul Aziz, Malaysiakini, Jan 20, 07 4:47pm

The author of a book on the Kampung Medan clashes of 2001 has questioned why the authorities have banned his publication, given that the information contained therein is already available in the public domain.
>Can anyone with a Malaysiakini subsciption please help share the details of this article? Thanks.

However, I found a blog entry regarding the abovementioned book "March 8" which is written by K. Arumugam.
“March 8″, which was written in Tamil, records what had happened during the Kampung Medan racially-based clashes in which, til today, is still shrouded in mystery.

It incorporates the research of Dr. Nadarajah, who had studied the events for his PhD thesis.


Anonymous said...

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bibliobibuli said...

The article continues:

The author of a book on the Kampung Medan clashes of 2001 has questioned why the authorities have banned his publication, given that the information contained therein is already available in the public domain.

K Arumugam, who got to know his book ‘March 8' was proscribed by the Internal Security Ministry when he read about it yesterday, said his account of the clashes between March 8 - 23 that left six people dead and over 90 injured have been documented elsewhere.

This 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, said Arumugam.

"I documented the incident so as to preserve the lessons to be learned from the incident, for future generations to learn from so that such clashes do not happen again," said Arumugam, an engineer-turned-lawyer, in an interview today.

"Banning the book is like trying to deny people the right to record their own history, and to know their own history," added Arumugam, who had previously lived in Kampung Medan for over ten years.

Although investigations into the clashes have yet to be declassified by the authorities, Arumugam said his book lays bare the government’s categorisation of the incident as a racial clash between Indian and Malay.

Indians made up the overwhelming bulk of the deaths and casualties, he noted, adding that neither absolute or relative poverty in Kampung Medan could have led to the unrest, as some have claimed, because poverty therein was worse in the 1970s and 1980s.

Apart from allegations that some incidents of violence had taken place in front of police officers without any effort by the police to stop the perpetrators, he said, the book also raised the question why - despite 327 arrests of whom 83 were charged - nobody was found guilty.

Unanswered questions

"Why were so many people killed and injured but nobody charged? How can people escape the law in such a way? If it were Malays who had been killed or as many injured, would things have turned out the way they have?

"Eye-witness accounts and victims of the violence have said the perpetrators were outsiders and were adept at handling their weapons. Who are these people? Who sent them into Kampung Medan? Why didn’t the police arrest them? Was there immunity from the top levels of power?" he asked.

Arumugum said the only one way for the government to respond effectively to the facts contained and questions raised in his book is by rebutting or answering them, not simply banning his publication.

He also said he is contemplating challenging the proscription legally.

‘March 8' was one of 18 books banned by the ministry. The other books 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, and numerous others.

BTW if you ask Malaysiakini nicely they will give you permission to reproduce an article.

bibliobibuli said...

p.s the article is also in the public domain here.

it pays to google an article extract to see where else it has appeared.

was just wondering - is this the latest list of banned books?

midnite lily said...

yeah, i heart google! ^_^ but at the time i found it (also by googling "banned books malaysia" for latest new), there wasn't any other news site with the article. tks sharon!

m not sure if this is the lastest list either.