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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 ― Independent bookstore and publisher Silverfish Books announced today it is removing controversial blogger Alvin Tan’s equally controversial book, Sex, Pork and Persecution from its shelves with immediate effect.
Silverfish, which touts itself an advocate of free speech, said it made the decision to stop selling Tan’s book after spotting the latter’s “uncouth” September 1 Facebook post threatening sexual advances against Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid, the daughter of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“While we have no objections to bad taste, nor attention seeking, we draw a line at responsibility and accountability. If you want to say something like this, take responsibility if you have the balls.
“We respect her right to say what she did, even if we don't agree with her. But we respect her as a woman and a person (regardless of who she is related to). She deserves her dignity,” Silverfish said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Silverfish is one of two known bookstores in the country to have stocked Tan’s book; the other is another independent book publisher and distributor Gerak Budaya.
“We do not believe in censorship and curbing of free speech which is why we agreed to sell the book, despite disagreeing with much of it, and finding it generally juvenile,” Silverfish said, concluding its statement.
In an explicit Facebook entry on September 1, Tan made overt sexual advances towards Nurulhidayah following the latter’s public criticism of the mammoth Bersih 4 civil disobedience demonstration in Kuala Lumpur over the weekend.
Nurulhidayah herself came under fire after she called the rally “stupid work”, telling the demonstrators they would have served the country better by joining the military.
Silverfish has drawn over 100 “likes” on its Facebook page at the time of writing, with a number of commentators of both genders largely supportive of its decision to drop the title.
“Thank you Silverfish! I think he should be castrated,” said one Facebooker by the name Linda T Lingard.
Another who goes by the name Ainul Azelone Jamaludin said: “That's the right thing to do, Silverfish Books!”
Gerak Budaya’s administrations assistant manager, Susie Lee, told Malay Mail Online that her company was aware of Tan’s recent post about Ahmad Zahid's daughter.
But when asked if the company would follow in Silverfish’s example and remove Tan’s book, Lee said, “No comment”.
The book was published last year.
Tan, a former National University of Singapore law scholar and dropout, hit the spotlight over a now defunct sex blog.
He has been living abroad after jumping bail in August last year while on trial in the Sessions Court on three charges under the Film Censorship Act, Sedition Act and Penal Code.