Home Ministry not authority on religious matters, Muhyiddin says after Islamic book banned

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin attends the launch of Nik Nazmi’s book ‘9 Mei 2018: Catatan Dari Garis Depan’ at AEON AU2, Setiawangsa January 26, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin attends the launch of Nik Nazmi’s book ‘9 Mei 2018: Catatan Dari Garis Depan’ at AEON AU2, Setiawangsa January 26, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — While the Home Ministry is in charge of publications, it is not the authority on religious content and must consult the relevant agency before making a decision on such books, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The home minister was commenting on the ban of the book Breaking The Silence: Voices of Moderation: Islam in a Constitutional Democracy by pro-moderation group G25, which is a collection of articles that touches on Islamic religious teachings and aqidah or religious belief.

“My ministry is not the authority on religious issues. We must address that before making a final decision on this,” Muhyiddin told reporters after launching the Malay edition of Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad’s book 9 May 2018: Catatan Dari Garis Depan.

He said although the Pakatan Harapan government believes in human rights and freedom of speech, it takes in to account certain factors in allowing a book released for mass consumption.

“Especially if the book in question touches on issues concerning race, religion, relations between different ethnic groups in Malaysia, among others,” Muhyiddin said.

However, he acknowledged receipt of a formal appeal from the G25 group of retired civil servants, which he will also refer to when consulting the relevant authorities.

Muhyiddin did not specify the relevant authority to be consulted on the Islamic book.

Earlier this month, G25 urged the government to lift the ban, which was put in place by the previous BN administration on grounds it could alarm public opinion and be prejudicial to public order.

Published in December 2015 with a foreword by former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the book discusses the consistency of Islamic bureaucracy in Malaysia and with the Federal Constitution’s provisions.

Nik Nazmi’s book 9 May 2018: Catatan Dari Garis Depan chronicles the sequence of events leading up to the watershed May 9 general election that ended the 61-year rule of the Barisan Nasional.

In particular, it details his experiences in contesting the Setiawangsa federal seat, which until GE14, had been the sole BN seat in the national capital which it had never lost.

The book’s English version 9 May 2018: Notes from the Frontline was launched on December 3 last year. Both editions cost RM25 a copy.

The BM version is available for purchase from Karangkraf whereas its English counterpart can be bought from Ilham Books.

Related Articles