JAKARTA, Oct 3 — A misunderstanding over a book titled Manifesto Komunis (The Communist Manifesto) that carried the hammer and sickle logo led to the questioning of four Malaysian participants of the 2016 Indonesia International Book Fair, it was disclosed today.
Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamad Hashim said the Malaysians were only asked to give their statements to the Metro Jaya District Police Station here yesterday.
He said the police initially seized the title after seeing the hammer and sickle logo which is banned in Indonesia.
“After the questioning, the police were satisfied that the book merely related the story of communist atrocities that resulted in the deaths of more than a million people because of the ideology, and the four were released,” he told Bernama.
He said the contents of the title, published by Malaysia-based Thukul Cetak, did not contain any negative elements except for the logo on the cover.
The Malaysian Institute of Translation and Books (ITBM) had participated in the fair, and its director-general Sakri Abdullah was allowed to return to Malaysia after his passport was handed back to him by the Immigration Office at about 3pm today.
The three others, who were allowed to return to Malaysia yesterday, are the head of the Malaysian Books Department Rozlan Mohd Noor, head of Marketing and Sales Khairulnizam Mohamad Yunis and the book publisher Zulfikri Zamir Mohamad Munir.
Twenty-two Malaysian book publishing companies participated in the fair, held at the Jakarta Convention Centre, from Thursday to yesterday.
Zahrain said the Malaysian Embassy, on behalf of the Malaysian government, expressed its thanks to the Indonesian police.
He also said that ITBM should be more sensitive and understand the laws of a country before taking books from Malaysia there for promotion and sale.
Indonesia has imposed a ban on all symbols, brochures and books of a propagandist nature and symbols of communist ideology, and the authorities have even arrested tourists who sport attire bearing the hammer and sickle logo in the country. — Bernama