Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sorry Your Book is Banned!

Elizabeth Tai highlights in the Star newspaper about book banning in Malaysia and what a sad state of affair it is.

It’s arbitrary, my dear


Given broad, vague guidelines that keep changing, publishers and authors are hard- pressed to decipher what books get banned.

ON March 9, 2001, a day after the start of the Kampung Medan clashes in Kuala Lumpur, Suaram chairperson K. Arumugam was chased by 20 motorcyclists when he drove into the area.

The experience affected him so much that he decided to write a book about it.

Right to Read, held in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago, aimed to get people to ask why books are banned, and what happens when access to information is restricted.

After spending two years on research and RM10,000 on printing, 5,000 copies of March 8 (written in Tamil) rolled off the press in April 2006.

Nine months later – on Jan 19, 2007 – Elizabeth Wong (now Selangor exco member) informed Arumugam that his book, which had sold about 3,000 copies by then, had been banned.

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