“See you in Court” (Mr Minister) January 25, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics, Race Relations.
AFP carried the press statement by Suaram (see below) on the banning of the book, ‘March 8’, by our Secretariat member, Arumugam.
While details are still be finalised, I am delighted to let slip that we fully intend to challenge this order. While chances of overturning it is very slim, it doesn’t mean the Ministry of Internal Security should be allowed to get away that easily.
At the very least, Suaram will get to say to the Minister for Internal Security – i.e. Abdullah Badawi – “See You in Court”.
Press Statement: 23 January 2007
Lift Ban Immediately on the Kampung Medan Incident Book and 17 others
Suaram condemns strongly the banning of the book written by one of its secretariat member, K. Arumugam, who documented the ethnic clash incident in Kampung Medan that took place between 8-23 March 2001 based on research and eyewitness accounts of the incident.
The book, titled “March 8”, alongside with 18 other titles, including among others, “Islam and the West: A New Political and Religion Order Post-September 11” by Robert van de Weyer; “Negara Tuhan” by Tigga; “The Origin of Species” by F. Susilohardo Basuki Hernowo; and numerous other titles, are banned with effect from 28 January 2007.
The ethnic clash in Kampung Medan had left six dead and about 30 seriously injured, predominantly from the ethnic Indian minorities. To this date, the government has failed to bring any of the perpetrators that committed the heinous crime in Kampung Medan to justice.
The banning of this book is perpetuating the culture of impunity and inflicting further injustices to the victims of the Kampung Medan incident. We believe this is also an attempt by the government to prevent the book uncover the shameful failure of the government in providing justice to the victims and the total abdication in its duty to maintain the rule of law in Kampung Medan, where police were alleged to have stood by and taken no action in stopping the bloodshed.
By banning the book, all Malaysians are not only denied of their basic rights to freedom of expression and freedom of information, their rights as Malaysian citizens to understand and reexamine events of great importance and significance in the history of this country have also been gravely violated.
Suaram is in view that the government should respond to questions deemed “sensitive” by rebutting or answering them, rather than banning them frivolously.
We urges the government to firstly, lift the ban on all books immediately, in particular “March 8” by K. Arumugam; and secondly, repeal the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 which clearly violates the freedom of speech and expression and freedom of information in this country.