Banning Books Is For Those Who Fear Freedom

Umno Youth has called for action against the author, editor and publisher of a book on Malaysian politics and alleged that the cover image was an affront to Malaysia’s coat of arms.

Youth wing leader Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said the book, “Rebirth: Reformasi, Resistance, And Hope In New Malaysia” should be banned.

He had included a link to a Facebook page which features the book. Shortly after his posting, the page appearfed to have been taken down, and the link drew a blank.

The book cover image bears a resemblance to the national coat of arms, and features a naked child flanked by two tigers with humanoid faces stepping on a crocodile.

“Such action clearly shows the author of the book is belittling the dignity of the coat of arms and had insulted the symbol of the nation’s sovereignty,” Asyraf said in a Facebook post this evening.

He said stern action should be taken against the author, editor and publisher “if it is proven there was an intention to insult the nation’s official symbol”.

Asyraf said the publication of the book had shown that a 2016 decision to impose heavier penalties, including a maximum jail term of three years and a maximum fine of RM20,000 had not been enough to deter people from openly insulting such symbols.

The book, which was published this year, features articles by political analysts and journalists, and includes reports on the 2018 general election.

Our comment

Presumably this none too youthful UMNO warlord plans to invade Australia, where this book was edited, and impose strict laws requiring the worship of sacred symbols in place of freedom of speech and expression.

The British College of Arms, on whose designs and traditions the heraldry is based, would of course be mystified as to why a symbol cannot be cartooned by people seeking to make a point.

In places where people are free to think – after all freedom to think is the foundation for technical progress and intellectual development in any advanced society – it happens all the time.

But, of course this UMNO goon comes from the same stock as those block heads who screamed and shouted over cartoons depicting Najib as a clown. They prefer to rely on armies of angry folk in red shirts waving sticks and shaking fists as an expression of political views rather than more subtle symbolism or, heaven forbid, reasoned debate.

Of course, he is right to be fearful that information and ideas often prove ten times more powerful than threatening mobs of ‘yes men’ and that is the topic of this book – how a sea change of ideas and a revolt against corruption brought his own crooked government down at the last election.

It is as much the content of this book as the cover that must trouble the ageing youth leader – if you wish to erase the past and impose thug rule you must first burn the books.

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