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KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — The appearance of “Allah” in “Ultraman the Ultra Power” may be the reason for the Home Ministry’s decision to prohibit the publication of the comic book.
Following news of the book’s ban this evening, a Twitter user uploaded what appears to be a page from the comic that uses the Arabic word for God to describe the fictional Japanese action character.
“Beliau dianggap sebagai, dan dihormati sebagai, ‘Allah’ atau Elder semua wira Ultra,” read one line in pidgin Malay on the page shown. In English, it reads: “He is considered, and respected as, ‘Allah’ or the Elder to all Ultra heroes.”
It is unclear if the book was banned because of the word “Allah”, as the Home Ministry was cited as saying that it was due to contents that were detrimental to public order.
The use of the Arabic word here has become contentious in recent years, after Catholic Church challenged the Home Ministry in 2008 for the right to use the term that Malay-Muslims largely consider to be exclusive to Islam, in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its newspaper.
The case remains unresolved some four years after a High Court upheld the Catholic Church’s right to the term, which was subsequently overturned by the Court of Appeal. The case is now pending indefinitely before the Federal Court.
A Home Ministry official confirmed the reports of the ban when contacted this evening by The Malay Mail Online.
“Yes, KDN has banned the book ‘Ultraman the Ultra Power’,” the official said in a brief text message. KDN is the Malay acronym for the Home Ministry.
National news agency Bernama earlier reported the ban of the Bahasa Malaysia edition of the comic book, “Ultraman the Ultra Power”, for allegedly containing elements detrimental to public order.
The decision quickly led to widespread mockery by Malaysian internet users.
Ultraman is a fictional Japanese superhero who fights “Kaiju” (monsters), and first appeared on television in the 1960s.
It later gained popularity worldwide, including in Malaysia, leading to localised versions of the TV series and comic books.