KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — The ban on controversial comic Belt and Road Initiative for Win-Winism authored by former DAP member Hew Kuan Yau or popularly known as “Superman Hew” remains.
This was after the High Court Judge Datuk Noorin Badaruddin dismissed Hew’s application for a judicial review to challenge the book ban.
Justice Noorin, in her judgement, ruled that the Home Minister’s decision to ban the book was legal, reasonable and ought not to be disturbed by the court.
“The contents of the book are likely to be prejudicial to the public order. The book has raised anger in this country and must be forfeit to avoid unwanted incidents from happening. The Home Minister is also aware that the contents of the book fail to take into account the sensitivity of the multi-racial and multi-religious society and that it might divide the unity.
“Thus, nothing illegal about the decision of the minister in issuing the order...the government has the right to preserve public peace and order,” the judge said.
Justice Noorin further said that the minister’s decision was also made after considering social media comments and police reports lodged by the public over the book.
“This court finds no merit in the judicial review application and dismisses it with RM5,000 in costs,” she said adding that Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act was constitutional and valid.
On January 6 last year, the High Court granted leave to Hew to proceed with the judicial review against the comic book ban.
The judicial review application seeks to quash the Home Minister’s ban order and the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ (AGC) gazette of the ban order, dated October 23, 2019.
According to the judicial review application, filed on November 26, 2019, the Home Minister (who is not named), the Home Ministry, the AGC and the Government of Malaysia are named as respondents.
Hew, who is known by his moniker ‘Superman Hew’, is the co-author of the comic book published by the Asia Comic Cultural Museum in three languages — Malay, English and Chinese. The prohibition order applies to all three languages it was published in.
The book purportedly paints a glowing picture of China and its Belt and Road Initiative, while allegedly putting the Western world in a negative light.
Hew claimed that over 2,000 copies of his book were seized by the ministry nationwide, and another 13 copies of the Chinese version at the Asia Comic Cultural Museum in Penang, in the enforcement of the banning order.
He had also sought a declaration that the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 is unconstitutional and should be declared null and void.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Hew’s counsel Datuk J. Shamesh said that he would be waiting for further instructions from his client on whether to proceed to appeal against the decision or otherwise.
Senior Federal Counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly appeared for the respondents. — Bernama