Speak up against G25 book ban, Kit Siang tells Cabinet

DAP’s Lim Kit Siang says the Cabinet should suspend the ban on a book published by G25. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang says the Cabinet should suspend the ban on a book published by G25. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has urged Cabinet ministers to speak up against the Home Ministry's ban on a book published by G25, the group of former top civil servants who among others are opposing Islamic extremism.

The Gelang Patah MP in urging the suspension of the ban on Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation: Islam in a Constitutional Democracy said the censor could imply that Putrajaya has now deemed moderate voices as enemies, further legitimising the intolerant elements within the government.

“Have these contributors, particularly the Malay/Muslim stalwarts of society, become the new enemies of Malaysia, whether individually or collectively, trying to destroy the very body fabric of multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia?” Lim asked in a statement.

“The Cabinet at its meeting today should speak up for a moderate Malaysia for a change, suspend the ban on G25 book and form a high-level committee to hold public hearings whether the book should be banned,” he added.

The DAP parliamentary leader also urged the Cabinet to meet members of G25 to review issues raised in the book.

“I am sure all the contributors to the G25 book, as well as eminent Malaysians want to give their views to the Cabinet committee on the G25 book, whether to ban it or not, for the very soul of Malaysia is at stake ― whether Malaysia is to continue as a moderate nation or allow the forces of extremism and intolerance to hijack nation-building in Malaysia,” he said.

The Home Ministry has banned the book purportedly for being prejudicial to public order.

The prohibition of the book, titled Breaking the Silence: Voices of a Moderation: Islam in a Constitutional Democracy was made under the Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) (No 12) Order 2017 and dated July 27, according to a notice on the Federal Government Gazette.

The book is produced by G25, comprising former high-ranking Malay-Muslim civil servants, civic leaders and politicians first formed in December 2014 to call for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in a constitutional democracy as they are deeply concerned over developments regarding race relations, Islam, and extremist behaviour in Malaysia.

Lim also questioned why the Home Minister found a book endorsed by senior statesmen like former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to be a threat to public order.

Abdullah had written a foreword for the G25 book, where he endorsed the its call on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to “exercise his leadership and to demonstrate the political will to establish an inclusive consultative committee to find solutions to the intractable problems that had been allowed to fester for far too long”, he noted.

Lim then questioned if the ban meant the government also found the former prime minister's views to be a threat to public order.

The Federal Cabinet meets today.