Here we go again–Banning Books in Malaysia

January 8, 2016

Here we go again–Banning Books in Malaysia

by Zan Azlee


The weak, stupid and insecure UMNO types

Malaysian Muslims are a weak, stupid and insecure bunch. We have established that for a very long time now because we constantly need supervision so that we don’t fall prey to manipulation.

We have all kinds of rules and laws telling us what we can and cannot do. We have all kinds of people, the so-called leaders and authorities, telling us what we can and cannot do.It looks like all the religious studies that have been compulsory for us Malaysian Muslims students who go to national school have not worked at all.

We still don’t know anything about the religion. So many books have been banned because it doesn’t conform to the Islam the so-called leaders and authorities want us to believe in.Hence the most recent banning of books imposed by the Home Ministry about two months ago have been a slew of religious ones that have somehow found their way into the country.

These are :

1. The Teachings of the Quran by HU Weitbrecht.

2. Bahaullah And the New Era and Introduction to the Bahai faith by JE Esslemont.

3. Detik-detik pembongkaran agama: mempopulerkan agama kebajikan menggagas pluralisme-pembebasan by Nur Khalik Ridhwan and Sirsaeba Alafsana.

4. Jalan yang lurus: kita harus meneroka jalan ini by Kassim Ahmad.

5. Tabut: penjelasan tentang segala sesuatu by Abdul Kahar Bin Ahmad Jalal.

The first two books in the list above were published so long ago, almost a century ago to be exact, that one can wonder how much of a threat it can be. Both are actually books about different religions (Christianity and Bahai) and written by Europeans. Sure, The Teachings of the Quran is about Islam but from a Christian’s perspective.

Having the books around actually gives us Muslims an opportunity to study other religions and equip ourselves with good comparative religious understanding. That would actually strengthen our own faith, wouldn’t it? Unless, of course, we don’t understand our own religion enough to be able to compare it.

In fact, all the books on the list, whether written by Europeans, Indonesians or even our fellow Malaysians, should provide us with knowledge. Even a book with negative information can provide us with valuable lessons for deeper understanding and reinforcement of what we believe in.

It all depends on the base that we already have within us. If we have a strong base, then we will have a strong sense of self and evaluation. If we have a weak base, then we are weak.And to actually strengthen that base, instead of banning all that is against what we believe in, allow it, then provide counter-argument and rebuttals so that we see the point.

Then we would build minds that are open, understanding, critical, analytical and open to discourse. We can only learn when we are exposed to many different things. So the world is large and wide. We shouldn’t muzzle knowledge.

And that brings me to something else the Prophet said; “Whoever conceals knowledge would be muzzled on the Day of Resurrection with a muzzle of fire.”

16 thoughts on “Here we go again–Banning Books in Malaysia

  1. We in Malaysia are no different from Maoist China and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. In Cambodia, Pol Pot tortured and killed all intellectuals, Buddhist monks, and Muslim imams. –Din Merican.

  2. Well, many countries have banned books one way or the other, including the US where, in some cities or regions, books such as the Canterbury Tales, Elmer Gantry, Tropic of Cancer, etc., were once banned. The teaching of evolution was considered a felony in Tennessee. Other ways of preventing alternative ideas from spreading included the refusal of publishers to publish the book or attacks on them by reviewers, put-downs in academic circles, etc. But yes, the trend is towards more openness, if not acceptance: this is more likely in countries where information overload, together with a hedonistic way of life, would often prove sufficient to prevent any alternative idea or ideas to take hold. The state, like any organization, seeks perpetuity, which might be an excellent trait during times of good governance, but reactionary when bad.

    >Even a book with negative information can provide us with valuable lessons for deeper understanding and reinforcement of what we believe in.<

    Haha. Here we have J.S. Mill talking.

  3. I read this article and was surprised by one of the books banned from a local “prophet ” Abdul Kahar Bin Ahmad Jalal who espouses a startling truth and a fact in that “doing pilgrimage is something which had been created by Saudi Arabia for the sake of business”. By banning his book you can never be wiser and in fact breeds the current and newer generations of non thinking lemmings who are are “a weak, stupid and insecure bunch:”.

  4. Just like the setting up of Rayani Air being halal has nothing to do with being religious but rather is the wise decision by the Hindu couple who wants to capitalize on the religiosity of people. On the base of it all, business is always the true driving force.

  5. “Haha. Here we have J.S. Mill talking.”

    Hey even Mein Kampf is making a return to Germany😀

    Good or bad?. Here in Cambodia, genocide, Khmer Rouge reign of Terror, Pol Pot and his associates are widely discussed. This will enable Cambodians of the young generation to learn the lessons of their country’s recent history and also purge their souls. Even a book on the thoughts of Pol Pot aka Saloth Sar is on sale. The Toul Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields are open to all citizens and tourists alike.

    In Malaysia, we want not only to hide but also rewrite our history. We have even renamed the major roads, eg. Jalan Tun Perak used to be Mountbatten Road In honour of Lord Louis Mountbatten and Jalan Dang Wangi was once known as Campbell Road. Even Birch Road has disappeared. The statues of Frank Swettenham and Francis Light are now museum exhibits. Why must we do that? Does that alter the facts of our colonial past? –Din Merican.

  6. I read this article and was surprised by one of the books banned from a local “prophet ” Abdul Kahar Bin Ahmad Jalal who espouses a startling truth and a fact in that “doing pilgrimage is something which had been created by Saudi Arabia for the sake of business”

    Now that Saudi Arabia’s revenue from all are substantially down will they now consider increasing the number of pilgrims doing Haj and also the various fees which may have been charged such as visa and hotel/food/etc rates to increase revenue to cover the losses from oil revenues?

  7. As we can presently observe everywhere, the Westerners are declaring the Syahadah , coming in droves by the millions , all because they NOW understand the Latent aspects of the Religion. IF as most Muslims do, who merely confine to the Patent or the superficial skin-deep of Islam, WESTERNERS ARE NEVER CONVINCED…..

    In this translated book by Sir al’ Surahwardy ( knighted by the Queen ) , the Revelation that came to the Noble Prophet , is stated which illumines the Western world :

    ” God (Allah SWT ) saith :


  8. Waiting for them to re-ban mahathir’s opus on the malay dilemma. And make the slogans of the chief thief required reading in schools and reciting them on the monday morning assemblies of the not-so-civil servants.

  9. /// Abdul Kahar Bin Ahmad Jalal who espouses a startling truth and a fact in that “doing pilgrimage is something which had been created by Saudi Arabia for the sake of business”. ///

    How sad. Banning a truth doesn’t make it untrue or go away. The business of religion is really the religion of business. Just like the good old days when the Vatican used to sell indulgences. Organized religions (individuals, by all means have your one-on-one with God), are not about gods; they are about power, politics and money. Religions have been turned into money-making corporations with entertainment thrown in for good measures. Yes, stoning people in public is hugely entertaining.

  10. Born loser trying to be perfect. Dumb n stupid trying to be smart. Create own history without fact, trying to be better than the rest of the world.

  11. Book banning is primitive and barbarous. It was done by the Christian Church in the Middle Ages. A wrong idea can only be eliminated by a right idea, not by forcing it underground. Our overfed (RM 800 million) religious bureaucracy is a waist of public money and should be closed down. We should be following Prophet Muhammad’s Medina Charter where religion is autonomously administered by its adherents, so that there is no religious conflicts. — Kassim Ahmad

  12. Correction: the word should be ‘waste’, not ‘waist’. Further, I wish to add that our so-called ulama are especially fearful of my ideas, since they banned many of my books. To add to my “Jalan Yang Lurus” (2014) , they have banned my “Hadis – Satu Penilaian Semula” (1986), “Hadis – Jawapan Kepada Pengkritik” (1992), “Dilema Umat Islam – Antara Hadis dan Quran” (2002) and “Kontroversi Hukum Hudud” (2002). Some independent body should give a prize of the most feared author in Malaysia and the world! But the irony is I have become the most popular Islamic scholar in Malaysia. Young people come to visit me in my house every week. God be praised! — Kassim Ahmad
    Congrats, Pak Kassim. It is a great feeling to have young Malaysians come visit you. The authorities can’t ban your books if you made them available as e-books.–Din Merican

  13. Thanks for you support, Pak Din. A USM student doing Masters on my work on Islam recently told me that in spite of “Islamic” bureaucrats’ banning of my two pamphlets, some bookshops are prepared to sell them underground. In the meanwhile a good Samaritan has undertaken to republish all my books, including the banned ones. Not only that, the books will be sold in Indonesia. Truth cannot and will not be suppressed. So I say, “God be praised!” — Kassim Ahmad

  14. 1. Did not I say before that that there is no priesthood cast in Islam? In this, what a shame that we are following the medieval Hindus and Christians, who have cast away these superstitions!
    2. With Perak Sultan Dr. Nazrin Shah’s recent warning about the danger of manipulating Islam, there is hope that it can be prevented. The Malay Rulers, charged with administering Islam, must act soon and decisively.
    — Kassim Ahmad

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