KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (Bernama) -- The High Court on Friday rejected an
author's application to quash the government's decision to ban his book
on the Kampung Medan riots, almost nine years ago.
In his decision, Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof ruled that the
then-deputy home minister's decision to ban the Tamil language book,
titled 'March 8', was valid as he (deputy minister) considered that the
circulation of the book would be prejudicial to internal security and
He said, the deputy minister in this case, had absolute discretion to
exercise the powers of the minister in prohibiting the publication and
the printing of the book, after considering views from the police and
the ministry that the book would be prejudicial to internal security,
and "poison the minds of the readers, especially the Indian community".
In dismissing the judicial review application, he, however did not order for costs because the case involved public interest.
Mohamed Ariff is the same judge who overturned the banning of the
book, 'Muslim Women and the Challenge of Extremism' by the home
ministry on Jan 25.
He said, each case had different facts of the case, and to arrive at a decision, he had to consider all factors.
Mohamed Ariff said, there was a need for balancing, in exercising
the judicial function, and that he also took into account, cultural and
sensitivity factors before making the decision.
On Feb 23, 2007, engineer-turned-lawyer K. Arumugam filed an
application for a judicial review, seeking to declare null and void the
order made by the government on Nov 21, 2006, prohibiting the
publication, sale and distribution of the book on grounds that it was a
threat to national security.
In his application, Arumugam, 51, named the internal security
minister and the deputy internal security minister at that time, as
well as the Malaysian government, as respondents.
Earlier, Arumugam's counsel, Edward Saw, argued that the decision
to ban the book was irrational and unreasonable to the right of freedom
He also said the deputy minister failed to adduce evidence that
the circulation of the book could be prejucial to internal security as
the book was in circulation with 3,000 copies before it was banned on
Nov 21, 2006.
Senior Federal Counsel Datin Azizah Nawawi had submitted that the
deputy minister at that time (Datuk Fu Ah Kiaw) had considered all
views and information before prohibiting the book's circulation.
Arumugam, when met by reporters, said he respected the court's
decision and would consult his lawyer on whether to appeal or otherwise.