Lift ban on cartoons and repeal PPPA, CIJ urges
According to online daily "Malaysiakini", whose subsidiary Kinibooks is the publisher of "1Funny Malaysia", the Ministry's secretary-general Mahmood Adam justified the ban thus: "All three publications have been banned for . . . contents that can influence the people to revolt against the leaders and government policies. The contents are not suitable and [are] detrimental to public order." The report did not state when the ban was imposed, merely quoting the official as saying so on 24 June 2010.
CIJ and WAMI believe that no books should be banned to prevent the circulation of ideas, and that the people should be free to seek and receive them. However, the organisations are particularly appalled by the rationale for the ban, which revealed flagrant partisanship of the civil service toward the government of the day. The civil service, by name and mandate, is supposed to be above politics and serve the public, which includes protecting the people's right to express what they think of the elected government. The Ministry is being nonsensical to link criticism of the ruling government with public disorder, when the former is a hallmark of a functioning democracy.
The Ministry also resorted to the undemocratic measure of confiscating the books for "study" in January 2010 and August 2009, a move which has intimidated retailers from selling them.
CIJ and WAMI call for an immediate lift of the ban and the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), under which the ban is being imposed. Once again, the law is being abused by the state as a political tool for hegemonic purposes rather than to maintain social order.
Yip Wai Fong
Communication and Publications Officer, CIJ
Wong Chin Huat