Malaysian Government caught Pol Pot’s habit of banning books and persecuting writers and public intellectuals

December 31, 2017

Malaysian Government caught Pol  Pot’s habit of banning books and persecuting writers and public intellectuals

by FMT Reporters

Image result for Zaid Ibrahim's Book on Islamisation


Former Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim says his book “Assalamualaikum: Observations on the Islamisation of Malaysia”, which was launched in October 2015, has now been banned by the government.

The former minister took to Twitter to make public the decision which comes under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry.

“So the year didn’t end that well, My book ‘Assalamualaikum’ is now banned. Looks to me this govt prefer Muslims to burn effigies of political opponent(s), destroy beer bottles than reading books,” he tweeted earlier today.

In the book, Zaid shares his thoughts on a new and fresh conversation about the role of Islam in Malaysian politics and in public life.

A check with a local bookstore website indicates that the book, which was on sale for RM19, is banned.

FMT is still waiting to get confirmation from the Home Ministry on the banning of the book. This is the latest case of book banning related to publications that touch on Islam.

Image result for Farouk Musa and Din MericanDr. Ahmad Farouk Musa and Blogger Din Merican


On October 3, the Home Ministry had announced the banning of five books with Islamic content, by Turkish author Mustafa Akyol, and two Malaysians – Ahmad Farouk Musa and Faisal Tehrani.

Image result for Faisal Tehrani.
Prolific Writer Faisal Tehrani


In an official government gazette dated September 28, 2017, the Home Ministry said the books were banned as they were likely to be prejudicial to public order as well as to alarm public opinion.

The sole English book banned was “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty”, written by Akyol, and which has been an international best-seller since it was first published in the United States in 2011.

Image result for Akyol's book on Islam without extremes

The Bahasa Malaysia version of the book, “Islam Tanpa Keekstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan” was also banned. Aside from Akyol, Farouk, Nur Asyhraff Mohd Nor and Shuhaib Ar Rumy Ismail are also credited as authors for the translated work.

Two of Farouk’s own books – Wacana Pemikiran Reformis (Jilid 1) and (Jilid 2) – were also banned.

The publisher of the three books in BM is Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), an Islamic NGO of which Farouk is chairman.

‘More corruption than anytime in history’

Image result for Najib Razak

At the launch of his book in 2015, Zaid had said that Malaysia was deeply divided along racial, religious and class more than ever before.

“We have more corruption than at anytime in our history. Greed has become a way of life. Democracy and Rule of Law have been pushed aside.”

“Jakim, proclaiming itself as the protector of Islam, is more involved in big business and overseas travels than in promoting the principles of the religion,” he had said, referring to the Malaysian Islamic religion development department by its acronym.

“These are the complete antithesis of an Islamic government. Islam is a pristine, pure and a simple religion. It’s a religion of peace, promoting honour and integrity.”

Saying then that he was hoping for the book to be a conversation starter, Zaid said: “If the idea of Islamisation was to promote Malaysia as the country that exemplifies the virtues of the religion, then we have failed.”

5 thoughts on “Malaysian Government caught Pol Pot’s habit of banning books and persecuting writers and public intellectuals

  1. Government censorship is like a blinkered horse – looking straight and cut out from other views. To suppress any challenging or controversial views that can provoke and reshape public thought (deemed anti-establishment) is a way of authoritarianism and dictatorship and not that of true democracy. To assume this would change mindset to one favourable to government and establishment is a hopeless endeavour and foolishly so.

  2. Islam has always been a tool of those with and seeking power in Malaysia. It’s time Malays acknowledge it’s historical truth not some imagined reason of greatness or merit. The Sultans and now their feudal pretend elected rulers also see the primary purpose as controlling the people.

    Like it or not, the Malay Muslim faces cutting edge issues of their religion challenged by modernity, technology and free capital. Like it or not, while the Quran remain relevant, but only just, as probability of God is ever faster disproven by science, fact is the rest of Islamic text is not just challenged, much of the ideas disproven.

  3. Not just learning, Malaysia have been the leading ban happy nation since the 70’s. Movies such as Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar have been banned. The NY Philharmonic Orchestra have been banned because of its conductor Zubin Mehta. Countless books and authors hae also been banned. Even childrens books have been banned. Need we be surprised?

  4. Where the books of intellectuals, thinkers and modernists are banned, Dato will do us a great favour, if he could, at least, get a preview of such books and publish them in his blog. In local circumstances the sword may prove to be mightier for the moment but it will in due course succumb to the power of the pen and its impact on the reading public. Censorship only adds to curiosity driving them to seek the forbidden fruit. When a broad sweep of thinking people do that, intellectual capital grows and that may not necessarily be to the advantage of the establishment.

  5. It is a definite improvement from burning books which would have been the case if not for the requirement of an environmental impact study.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.