A press statement from Kim Quek, author of banned book “The March to Putrajaya” on why he is mounting a challenge on the legitimacy of the ban and confiscation of his book.
5 November 2010
I have taken steps to challenge the legal legitimacy of recent government action to confiscate and ban my book The March to Putrajaya.
My lawyers, Kanesalingam & Co. applied to the High Court at Kuala Lumpur on 4 November 2010 for leave to apply for judicial review to:
a) declare the police seizure of my books null and void, and
b) to remove the Home Minister’s subsequent order to ban the book .
On 19 August 2010, police swooped on bookshops in various parts of the country to seize and remove my books without proper legal ground. My lawyers wrote to the police on 15 September to request for the return of the books. Then, without any announcement, the Minister signed an order on 22 September to ban the book, followed by gazetting the ban on 27 September. But it was not until Sept 30 that Bernama announced the book ban, quoting the Ministry’s Secretary General for the various reasons for the banning. I promptly rebutted in a press statement the next day – 1 October – that the reasons given were unfounded.
Yes, my book contains criticism of the Barisan Nasional government, but these are comments and analysis based on facts that are already in the public domain and facts that have not been properly refuted by the criticized parties.
I have also advocated a change of government due to the lack of meaningful reforms by the incumbent political power.
All these are legitimate political discourse and I have only been exercising my right under the constitution to express my views.
Should any party consider himself injured by what he considers as fraudulent presentation and malicious slander by me, then it is for the party concerned to sue me. But to let loose the police on a rampage to harass the bookshops and worse, to arbitrarily ban the book simply because it is deemed detrimental to the political fortune of the ruling party, is the height of lawlessness that must be unequivocally condemned by every democratic society.
There have been far too many instances of wanton harassment of bookshops, publishers and writers and whimsical banning of books by the authorities, now that the show down between the two political protagonists appears to be imminent. It is high time that people who still cherish the democratic way of life make a concerted effort to put a stop to this stifling of free aspiration of our people.
Facing such brutish treatment from the executive, where can citizens seek their recourse other than the Judiciary, which is the third independent pillar of our system of governance that is entrusted to safeguard the citizens’ rights?
It is with this in mind that I have embarked on the present legal course with the earnest hope to make a contribution towards the democratization of our country.
LB: Click here to download “March to Putrajaya.”